The Republican Party wasn't too happy after the President's State Of The Union address Tuesday — and we're not talking about their four-pronged video response. Later Tuesday night, congressman Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) threatened a NY1 reporter, hissing at journalist Michael Scotto that he wouldn't hesitate to throw Scotto from a balcony. Following the confrontation, Grimm insisted, "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 on Wednesday morning, Grimm personally (and, we imagine, grudgingly) apologized to Scotto, according to a Tweet that Scotto posted.
The interview started off routinely. In fact, Grimm later said he'd done news station NY1 a favor by granting them first dibs. Scotto, NY1's Washington bureau reporter, asked Grimm about his thoughts on Obama's State Of The Union address, which Grimm called "divisive."
But things went downhill fast: When Scotto tried to question Grimm on a federal investigation about Grimm's fundraising, the congressman became enraged. He declined the speak about the issue and walked away, only to return shortly with a vengeance. Apparently, Scotto shouldn't have told viewers that Grimm had refused to discuss the matter.
"Let me be clear to you: You ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this f---ing balcony," Grimm said.
Scotto appeared pretty confused — after all, he was just doing his job — and defended himself by explaining that, um, it was a valid question.
"No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough," Grimm responded. "I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
Defensive much? The Staten Island lawmaker has been the subject of ongoing investigations into his 2010 campaign fundraising, which includes allegations that his former girlfriend used straw donors to bypass financial limits.
In a statement, Grimm explained:
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.
On Wednesday morning, Scotto Tweeted:
Later, Scotto told CNN that he's used to pushback as a New York City reporter — but he'd never encountered anything like that before. But he's being a sport about it: Scotto added that he's not taking it personally, and such incidents come with the territory.
NY1, however, isn't very happy about having their reporters bullied. Said station's political director, Bob Hardt:
It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. Congressman. The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm and demands a full apology from him. This behavior is unacceptable.