U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) is accused of physically and verbally threatening a TV reporter following President Obama’s State of the Union address last night.
Accused is probably the wrong word, since it took place on live TV. There's no denying this one, nor has Grimm, 43, attempted to do so in the hours since.
In an interview with NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, Grimm was asked about an ongoing campaign finance probe at which he has been the center since 2012.
“I’m not talking about anything that’s off-topic, this is only about the president,” Grimm said, referring to Obama's 2014 State of the Union address.
He then walked off camera, only to return moments later, leaning into Scotto in what appeared to be an angry exchange that partially took place off camera.
According to the transcript provided by NY1, Grimm said to Scotto, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f--king balcony.”
Scotto defended his line of questioning to the Congressman several times, according to the transcript, at one point saying: “It’s a valid question.”
Grimm then said to the reporter, according to the transcript, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
In a statement shortly after the incident, the lawmaker didn’t deny this.
“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests," Grimm said in a statement.
"The reporter knew 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."
"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 I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.
Scotto, who covers Capitol Hill for the New York-based news channel, referred Politico's request for comment to NY1 Political Director Robert Hardt.
“It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters, let alone a United States congressman,” Hardt said in response to the altercation.
“The NY1 family is extremely alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm and demands a full apology from him."
"The behavior is unacceptable.”