UPDATE, 9:40 AM: New York Rep. Michael Grimm told a gaggle of reporters outside his office this morning he expects his mother to remind him he was not raised to threaten to throw reporters off of balconies. and that he’s scheduled a lunch with the NY1 reporter to whom he made the offer, Meanwhile, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto tweeted he’s accepted Grimm’s apology.
PREVIOUS, 7:53 AM: Time Warner Cable landed one of the biggest scoops of the State of the Union address last night, when a congressman offered to throw one of its reporters off the balcony in the hall, and/or break him in two, during a post-address interview (see video below). It’s believed to be a State of the Union Address first and understandably is the subject of some talk on the morning news show circuit today. “He did seem angry, he seemed angrier than I have ever seen a politician talk to a reporter about a question that he or she didn’t like,” NY1 reporter Michael Scotto reminisced this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“He” is New York Rep. Michael Grimm, whose campaign finance issues have been of interest to some news outlets of late — the FBI arrested his fundraiser Diana Durand earlier this month, according to published reports. Scotto told various TV news outlets this morning that Grimm has been dodging the media but, after President Obama’s speech last night, he agreed to give Scotto an interview — at the end of which Scotto tried to ask him about allegations about his campaign finances. Grimm can be seen telling Scotto he won’t discuss anything but the POTUS speech and the stalking off. Scotto may have pitched it a little too strong to his viewers when he wrapped up with: “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances, we wanted to get him on camera on that, but he, as you saw, refused to talk about that. Back to you.”
“Back” is just where Grimm came.
He is not seen touching Scotto, and the conversation moved mostly off-camera, but the mic picked up Grimm appearing to tell Scotto he has dibs on turning him into two Scottos, should he ever ask him a tough question again. NY1’s political director said Grimm also offered to help break Scotto of the hard-question habit, going forward, by tossing him off the balcony, Politico reported.
“I don’t believe the substance of the threat at all,” Scotto told CNN’s New Day this morning, speculating Grimm got angry over his explanation to viewers as to why he’d declined to answer the final question. In interviews, Scotto said he had told Grimm his employers were “going to air this, as is… So he knew this was, for all intents and purposes, a live situation.”
Grimm, meanwhile put out a statement last night:
“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.”
So, which of the many Washington-centric TV series and/or crime dramas will be first to turn this into an episode? My money’s on Chicago PD. Check out the video: