Politics can get dirty. Trying to cover politics and unearth the truth at all costs can get extremely dirty and difficult, as any reporter can tell you. But that said, no media pro expects to be threatened and bullied by a politician. Especially not on camera. But that's exactly what happened last night at the Capitol after President Obama's State of the Union address. Republican New York Rep. Michael Grimm was doing a routine, live interview with Michael Scotto of New York cable news station NY1 when he completely lost it and basically pulled (at least the verbal equivalent of) an angry Alec Baldwin attack.
Apparently, Grimm didn't like Scotto's last curveball question about a current investigation into his campaign finances. And he really didn't like that after he refused to answer said question, Scotto turned to the camera and proceeded to explain to viewers why Grimm was evading the inquiry. How DARE Scotto do his job!
If Grimm was doing HIS job as a public servant, voted into office, he would've realized he has a responsibility to answer a reporter's valid question about a public investigation. But no. Instead, he chose to behave first like a schoolyard bully, getting in Scotto's face -- while cameras were still rolling! -- telling the reporter:
You ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this (expletive) balcony.
He went on to threaten to "break [Scotto] in half." Lovely.
Gee. One would think that after an incident like this, Grimm would be embarrassed and say he's sorry. But NO! Instead, he morphed from bully to petulant brat, issuing a boo-hooing statement that defends his behavior by saying he was "extremely annoyed" with Scotto and doubted he was the "first member of Congress to tell off a reporter." Insane. Obviously, NY1 political director Bob Hardt was completely justified to have demanded a "full" (aka actual) apology from Grimm.
It's sickening. Grimm is obviously a man who has no clue what he signed up for as a politician. He needs to accept the fact that having chosen a life in the public eye, his constituents have a right to know about any of his dirty laundry -- especially the kind being aired in an ongoing investigation. If that's something he is unwilling to do, maybe it's time for his voters to throw HIM off Capitol Hill -- for good!
UPDATE: (Most likely at the insistence of his publicist seeking damage control,) Rep. Grimm finally apologized to the reporter.
Here's a follow-up interview Scotto did with CNN and original footage of the incident ...
What do you make of this incident? Does Rep. Grimm have any grounds for this angry outburst?