After President Obama's State of the Union address, a reporter for New York all-news channel NY-1, Michael Scotto, interviewed Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) in the Capitol Rotunda about the president's speech. As the interview wound down, Scotto tried to ask the congressman about the ongoing federal investigation into his 2010 campaign. Grimm said he would not answer and walked off camera. However, after it appeared the reporter was done, the congressman came back and threatened to throw the reporter off the balcony.
Scotto: And just finally before we let you go, we haven't had a chance to talk about some of the..
Grimm: I'm not speaking to you off-topic, this is only about the president
At this point, Grimm walked off camera, and Scotto wrapped up his report:
Scotto: So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances
As the camera continued to roll, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and began speaking to him in a low voice. Looking intimidated, Scotto can be heard saying "What? I just wanted to ask you..."
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
After the incident Grimm released the following statement:
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.
There are two obvious problems with Grimm's statement. He clearly did not "tell off" a reporter, he threatened violence against a reporter. Secondly, Scotto is a reporter; the first part of the interview was focused on the president's speech--the big story of the day. Scotto would not have been doing his job if he didn't ask the congressman about the investigation into his campaign financing. Grimm should have anticipated the query and had a response ready.
Update: Scotto tweeted that Rep. Grimm had apologized: