It’s never smart behavior to threaten someone in front of a TV camera – it’s especially dumb if you’re a U.S. Congressman.
Rep. Michael Grimm’s bizarre and scary rant against our Michael Scotto last night is not an isolated incident; it’s part of a pattern in which the congressman has tried to avoid questions from NY1 about an ongoing probe into his campaign finances -- and then become enraged when we’ve dared to ask him about a legitimate story.
Following an interview with NY1’s Errol Louis in December of 2012, the congressman blew his top – off-camera. Again, at issue was the fact that Louis had the temerity to ask Grimm about an investigation that recently led to an associate of the congressman being arrested and charged with illegally donating $10,000 to his campaign.
After the interview, Grimm became red-faced and started yelling at both Louis and me, alluding to settling the issue by “taking it outside” with our political anchor – acting as if he were in a bar instead of a TV studio. He’s also complained to me when our reporters on Staten Island asked him about the probe when he was running for re-election in 2012.
Showing he truly doesn’t understand that physically threatening someone is wrong, Grimm last night issued a statement – instead of an apology -- which ended: “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.” But he’s the first Congressman I know who told a reporter: “I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
I’m curious what the House leadership thinks of Grimm’s behavior. I’m also curious what voters on Staten Island think of their Congressman – and whether they throw him over their balcony on Election Day.