Rep. Michael Grimm Apologizes to Reporter for Threatening to Break Him in Half

The New York Republican expresses regret for his post-State of the Union tirade.

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) speaks to the media, January 2, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. 
National Journal
Matt Berman and Elahe Izadi
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Matt Berman Elahe Izadi
Jan. 29, 2014, 6:45 a.m.

Rep. Mi­chael Grimm apo­lo­gized to a NY1 re­po­ter for threat­en­ing to throw him off a “f———- bal­cony” and break him in half on Tues­day night. 

A day later, Grimm has called Mi­chael Scotto, who “ac­cep­ted my apo­logy, and we’re go­ing to go to lunch. We put it all be­hind us,” Grimm told re­port­ers in the Cap­it­ol on Wed­nes­day.

“My con­stitu­ents know I’m ex­tremely pas­sion­ate,” Grimm said, adding he worked throughout the day Tues­day on flood in­sur­ance. “My dis­trict, people were slammed by Su­per­stom Sandy. I have to go home and look people in the eye that have noth­ing, OK? They have lost everything they have ever owned, and they are al­most com­pletely out of hope, and you know what they ex­pect? They ex­pect Mi­chael Grimm to have their back, and that’s what I’m go­ing for.”

“I’m the guy that’s go­ing to stand up for these con­stitu­ents,” he con­tin­ued. “I’m go­ing to be re­lent­less, and I’m very pas­sion­ate about it. And un­for­tu­nately, when you’re that type of per­son who has that kind of pas­sion, your emo­tions can get the bet­ter of you.”

The con­gress­man’s out­break happened after the pres­id­ent’s State of the Uni­on ad­dress when a re­port­er from NY1 asked him about a fed­er­al in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to pos­sible cam­paign fin­ance vi­ol­a­tions. Ac­cord­ing to NY1’s tran­script of what happened, Grimm lost it fol­low­ing the ques­tion, say­ing: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f——- bal­cony.” The con­gress­man than told the re­port­er “you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” Grimm, who was first elec­ted to Con­gress in 2010,  is a former Mar­ine and was once an un­der­cov­er FBI agent.

The con­gress­man was back in the House for votes Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

After the in­cid­ent Tues­day night, Grimm is­sued a less-than-apo­lo­get­ic state­ment:

I was ex­tremely an­noyed be­cause I was do­ing NY1 a fa­vor by rush­ing to do their in­ter­view first in lieu of sev­er­al oth­er re­quests. The re­port­er knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to com­ment on the State of the Uni­on, but in­sisted on tak­ing a dis­respect­ful and cheap shot at the end of the in­ter­view, be­cause I did not have time to speak off-top­ic.

I verbally took the re­port­er to task and told him off, be­cause I ex­pect a cer­tain level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and re­spect, es­pe­cially when I go out of my way to do that re­port­er a fa­vor. I doubt that I am the first Mem­ber of Con­gress to tell off a re­port­er, and I am sure I won’t be the last.

It may not be the last time a mem­ber goes off on a re­port­er, but it will likely be the last time Grimm messes with NY1.

Fel­low New York Rep. Charles Ran­gel, a Demo­crat, said Wed­nes­day that “it’s clear the be­ha­vi­or was such that it re­quired an apo­logy.”

When asked about how the in­cid­ent will be re­ceived by New York voters, Ran­gel ad­ded with a grin, “He has a dif­fer­ent kind of dis­trict than I do in Staten Is­land.”

This post was up­dated with com­ments from the con­gress­man at 11:52 a.m.

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