Yes, it appears US Representative Michael Grimm did threaten violence to a NY1 reporter in the Capitol Rotunda.
It’s something you’d expect to hear on a terrible Reality TV show… not from a US Congressman after the State of the Union Address: “…You ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
But nonetheless, if the transcript from the NY1 video is correct, it seems to be true.
Rep. Michael Grimm represents the 11th District of New York in the House of Representatives. The Republican is a former FBI agent and a Marine who served in the Gulf War. He is in the middle of a storm of questions about a 2010 campaign fundraising scandal.
According to Wikipedia, he serves on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
Following the President’s State of the Union Address, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto interviewed Rep. Grimm about the SOTU, and then asked to follow up those questions with another. Grimm shot him down, saying he only wanted to talk about the SOTU. This isn’t an uncommon practice by politicians, and at first it seems Grimm is simply being firm by ending the interview respectfully and walking away. Scotto signs off on his report, and when Rep. Grimm assumes the camera is no longer rolling, he steps back into frame and pushes into Scotto.
Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
Scotto: “Why? I just wanted to ask you…”
Grimm: “If you ever do that to me again…”
Scotto: “Why? Why? It’s a valid question.”
Grimm: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Grimm released a statement following the incident.
“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,” reads the statement.
What stands out about Grimm’s threats, other than the complete and utter absence of an apology, is how insulting someone’s masculinity is often used by bullies to threaten and harm other men. This moment is a wake-up call for men and those who love them that it is time now, more than ever, to stop framing masculinity in terms of who is most willing (or able) to intimidate and threaten others. We know that masculinity is about what each man sees as defining his own value as a man, and it’s hard to see threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony in the Capitol Rotunda as anything other than outright violence and bullying.
If you ask me, no matter how rude Grimm considered Scotto’s question to be, there is one man in that camera frame who certainly is not acting like a man, and that’s Rep. Grimm. After all, telling another grown man that he isn’t “man enough” to ask him a tough question sounds more like a petulant child having a tantrum than a United States Representative handling an uncomfortable situation like a grown adult.