Update: Jan. 29, 11:24am
Rep. Michael Grimm (R—N.Y.) physically threatened a local news reporter during a heated exchange following an interview after Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, telling the reporter, “I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
The exchange between the Republican Congressman from Staten Island and New York 1 reporter Michael Scotto took place on the Capitol balcony following the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Scotto attempted to ask the lawmaker about an ongoing investigation into his campaign finances when Grimm stopped him: “I’m not talking about anything that’s off-topic, this is only about the president,” he said, before walking away from the camera.
As Scotto began to explain to TV viewers that the Congressman did not want to answer questions about the investigation, Grimm stormed back over to Scotto, kicking off an angry exchange as the camera kept rolling:
According to New York 1‘s transcript of the exchange, Grimm told Scotto, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.” When Scotto defended his line of questioning, Grimm told him, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Congressman Grimm later released a statement about the exchange saying, “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.”
NY1, the New York City-based 24-hour cable news channel, took a markedly harder line toward Grimm’s threat. “It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. Congressman,” the station’s political director Bob Hardt said in a statement. “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.”
The House Ethics Committee said in November that Grimm is being investigated for possible campaign violations. Grimm, a former FBI agent, has denied any wrongdoing.
Update: Scotto tweeted on Tuesday morning that Grimm had called him to apologize.