Embattled Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., has apologized personally to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto after getting into a confrontation with the reporter that took place on Capitol Hill after Tuesday night’s big State of the Union address.
According to a tweet posted on Wednesday by Scotto, Grimm apologized and said that he “overreacted," and Scotto accepted his apology.
Grimm released a statement on Wednesday saying:
“I was wrong. I shouldn't have allowed my emotions ot get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I'll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post Sandy.”
Scotto tried to question Grimm about a controversy involving the campaign finances of his 2010 campaign. Obviously Scotto had struck a nerve with Grimm as he responded to Scotto by threatening to throw him over a balcony and “break him in half.”
But know this, Grimm waited until it appeared that the camera had stopped rolling before he came back over to Scotto and physically and verbally confronted him in what looks to be a blatant attempt to intimidate a reporter for asking a certain kind of question, and that is evident based on what Grimm said to Scotto and how he made his comments to Scotto.
Grimm clearly stated that he would not answer any questions that were “off topic,” and he walked away. That should have been the end of it.
But unfortunately for Grimm, based on what he quickly returned and the comments he made, it’s hard to tell whether you're listening to a Congressman, a street thug, or The Sopranos.
NY1 posted a transcript of the encounter:
Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f****** 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 later released a statement to NY1 that said:
“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.”
In Grimm’s deflated attempt to try and justify his actions, he said that he told off Scotto because he expects a “certain level of professionalism and respect.” But as Mitt Romney and Chris Christie have said in the past, this is politics, not bean bag, and Grimm knows that better than anyone.
So when it comes to professionalism, Scotto’s questioning seemed to meet the standard, while Grimm’s antics seemed to leave much to be desired.
NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt had already demanded an apology not too long after the incident.
Hardt’s statement said:
“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!”
Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scotto admitted that Grimm “did seem angry.”
“He seemed angrier than I had ever seen a politician talk to a reporter about a question that he or she didn't like. I think the tape speaks for itself, so I'm just going to leave it as is. I'm used to people giving me push-back for questions. I was not used to something like that.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Scotto has no plans to press charges, and that is important, because it shows just how off of the rails Grimm’s tirade truly was.
So while Grimm eventually regained his composure and apologized for his threatening outburst, there are many people, particularly African-Americans, who want to know if Grimm’s behavior qualifies him as a thug like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was accused of being? Or, was Grimm not loud enough to qualify?
Sherman ignited a firestorm on social media and throughout the entire media landscape for animatedly proclaiming that he is the best and his adversary was “mediocre,” which is a far cry from threatening to throw someone off a balcony and break them in half.
Because if Grimm's behavior is simply passed off as being a temporary, honest misjudgment, this ethnically friendly thing society has labeled as thug behavior is just like so many other things in our society that depend greatly, if not totally, on who you are to the point where your identify or your genetic makeup is just as important or more important than the behavior itself.