(image by Salon) DMCA
As a resident of Staten Island I met our Congressional Representative Michael Grimm once at a local diner. He had just been elected and he was nice enough to spend a few minutes with me and my group of friends and take some pictures. I remember asking him his opinion about the current hot issue in DC and his response was canned GOP talking points. So I politely pointed that out and asked him what HE really felt. While he tried to remain friendly overall I could sense the question unnerved him, as if I had crossed some line where he is allowed to make the rules and no one could question him. He spent the few minutes left talking to my other friends who just gushed at the chance to meet him.
So it was not completely surprising when I saw the tape yesterday of Representative Grimm confronting a reporter from NY1. It seems that Mr. Grimm took offense at the reporter"being a reporter. He asked Grimm a question about the ongoing campaign finance scandal that is enveloping his office. So this sitting United States Congressman decided to do his best Tony Soprano and literally threatened to throw the reporter off the balcony they were interviewing on. He then continued his verbal assault calling the reporter a little boy who he would "break in half" if he "ever did something like this again." For most of us outside the beltway, we would be facing criminal charges but Grimm didn't seem worried when he released a completely unapologetic statement regarding the incident:
"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."
Excuse me? Let's clarify the record for the bullying Congressman. First of all you do not "do a reporter a favor" by granting them your presence. You're not that important. He could have interviewed any number of your colleagues to find out what the Roger Ailes talking point response was to the State of the Union. Secondly, it is not a "cheap shot" for a REPORTER to ask you a QUESTION; let alone a pertinent question. It is not Michael Scotto's fault that the FBI arrested one of your fundraisers for illegally funneling $10,000 to your campaign or that there is an ongoing investigation as to whether you illegally solicited money from foreign donors. Thirdly, you did not "verbally take the reporter to task" or merely "tell him off." You physically threatened him with bodily harm. That is supposed to be a crime in this country. Lastly; you expect a certain level of professionalism and if you do not get it you behave so unprofessionally as to threaten to beat people up?
Mr. Grimm, Fox News is not a real news channel. You should not expect to be able to make the rules up unless you see Sean Hannity sitting across from you. It matters little now because it is now time for you to resign. You have embarrassed yourself, your office and the good people of Staten Island. When you had a chance to think better of it, you chose to double down instead of apologize like a real man. We do not need another mafia caricature like we see going on in New Jersey every day. You're not a tough guy. You acted like the little boy you accused that reporter of being for having the temerity to do his job. Now, it is simply time for you to go.