Congressman Michael Grimm Threatens to Throw Reporter Off Balcony
It was an extraordinary scene as a U.S. Congressman lost it with a TV reporter, threatening to throw him off a balcony on Capitol Hill, saying, "You ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (blank)ing balcony."
Covering the story on the Today show, Natalie Morales commented, "Talk about bullying, that's a classic example right there."
The drama started when Representative Michael Grimm of New York was invited to comment on President Obama's State of the Union speech last night. But fireworks erupted after reporter Michael Scotto, who works for a local cable news station, tried to ask the Republican about an ongoing federal investigation into his campaign fundraising.
On camera, Scotto said to Grimm, "We haven't had a chance to talk about some of the.."
Grimm interrupted with, "I'm not going to talk about anything that's off topic. This is only about the president's speech. Thank you."
Scotto wrapped up the segment saying, "Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations...."
That's when the furious congressman returned to unload on the startled reporter.
"Let me be clear to you. You ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (blank)ing balcony," exclaimed Grimm.
Scotto asked, "Why? I just wanted to ask you..."
Grimm interrupted, "If you ever do that to me again..." followed by whispered, inaudible language.
"Why? Why, this is a...It's a valid question," stated Scotto.
Again, Grimm replied to Scotto with inaudible language for a few seconds. Then the camera picked up Grimm saying, "No, no, you're not man enough. You're not man enough. I'll break you in half like a boy."
Commenting on that moment caught on tape, Natalie Morales said on the Today show, "He's a former FBI agent as well as a former Marine. So, when he tells you, 'I'm going to break you in half,' I'd be scared."
Scotto had this to say afterwards: "I was surprised that someone, that a congressman would do that. It's kind of, I think it's PR 101 in a lot of respects not to talk like that when there's an open mic and a camera nearby."
When the reporter's station demanded an apology, Grimm was defiant, saying in a statement: "I was extremely annoyed. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry."
But after an uproar erupted, the congressman changed his tune, telling reporters, "I apologized. I called Michael Scotto. He was very gracious in accepting my apology. We're going to have lunch sometime next week."
Sounds like humble pie will be on the menu at that meal.