New York congressman Michael Grimm has been filmed verbally threatening a news reporter after an interview following US president Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
After refusing to answer a question about an investigation into his 2010 campaign finances, the 43-year-old Republican is seen walking away, before returning to threaten the NY1 broadcaster’s political reporter, Michael Scotto.
“Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances,” Scotto says to camera as Grimm leaves.
Much of the conversation is inaudible in the recording, but according to a transcript from NY1, Grimm said: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.”
Scotto replies: “Why? I just wanted to ask you,” before Grimm says, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Grimm’s friend Diana Durand was arrested for campaign finance violations earlier this month, although Grimm has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
In a statement, Grimm – a former FBI agent and marine – did not apologise: “I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favour 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 favour. 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.”
Grimm later apologized to the reporter for physically threatening him.
“I was wrong,” he said Wednesday in a written statement to NY1. “I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to 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.”