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.