“I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool,” tough-guy Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm said today. Translation: “I shoulda kept my mouth shut and just threw him off the balcony.”
New York City’s only Republican Congressman got into hot water following last night’s implosion following the State of the Union with a reporter who was just doing his job.
Time Warner Cable’s NY1 reporter Michael Scotto did an interview with Grimm on the Congressional balcony for the Tea Party-backed politico’s reaction to President Obama’s speech.
He then went on to ask the Congressman about the federal probe into his shady fund-raising operation.
Grimm walked away from Scotto but returned to confront the reporter. Here’s the NY1 transcript:
Grimm: "Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f-----g balcony."
Scotto: "Why? I just wanted to ask you..."
Grimm: "If you ever do that to me again..."
Scotto: "Why? Why? It’s a valid question."
Grimm: "No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
Grimm sounded more like a Mafia wise guy than a Member of Congress representing the people in all of State Island and the Bay Ridge slice of Brooklyn, where I live.
In his initial statement, Grimm accused Scotto of being disrespectful and “taking a cheap shot.” He expected a “certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor.”
Who does King Mike think he is? As a GOPer in a blue city, he needs the media more than they need him.
Grimm came to his senses a bit today. He called Scotto to apologize and offered to do lunch.
D.C. watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today filed a request for investigation to the Office of Congressional Ethics saying Grimm went “well beyond the bounds of reasonableness” when he physically threatened Scotto. It believes the threat violates a House rule requiring conduct in a way that reflects credibility on Congress.
Grimm’s loose lips have triggered a grand PR crisis. In becoming a sideshow, Grimm offers a lesson to all communicators about the importance of dealing with the media in a respectful rather than thuggish way.
Coney Island NYC City Council member Domenic Recchia is the leading Democrat to challenge Grimm. The Congressman has attacked his potential competitor for being a “pathetic political hack,” a “complete empty suit” and a “career politician without an original thought.”
Grimm’s meltdown provided good grist for Recchia.