New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm said Wednesday that “there’s no excuse” for his actions after he threatened to throw a reporter off a Capitol Hill balcony following the State of the Union address Tuesday night.
“Bottom line is, I lost my cool, and it shouldn’t have happened,” Grimm told reporters at the Capitol, adding that New York 1 reporter Michael Scotto was “gracious enough to accept my apology.”
Grimm said he is an “extremely passionate” person, as his constituents have come to expect.
“They expect Michael Grimm to have their back, and that’s what I’m known for,” he said. “I’m the guy that is going to stand up for those constituents. I’m going to be relentless, and I’m very passionate about it. … And unfortunately, when you’re that type of person that has a lot of passion, your emotions can get the better of you.”
The exchange between Scotto and Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, took place on the Capitol balcony 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 threatening to throw him off the balcony. After inaudible cross-talk, Grimm said, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough.”
“I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” Grimm added.
On Wednesday, Grimm said that “when you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you have to admit it.”
Bob Hardt, NY1’s political director, wrote on the network’s website that the episode was not an isolated incident. After a December 2012 interview with NY1’s Errol Louis, Grimm “blew his top” off-camera over a question regarding a Grimm associate who was charged with illegally donating $10,000 to his campaign, according to Hardt.
“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,” Hardt wrote.
Grimm denied that he had been drinking Tuesday night.