Only Real Congressmen Assault Reporters
By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
Congressional Assault by Independent
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." -- Mark Twain, circa 1890
"Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f**king balcony." -- Congressman Michael Grimm , R-NY, January 28, 2014
Let's grant that Mark Twain was using hyperbole while committing a verbal insult against a widely despised class of American citizens. But that's not a crime. At least not yet.
Republican Grimm , by contrast was using hyperbole (presumably) while committing a verbal assault against a lone, non-threatening American citizen. That is a crime . It's a threat of harm that constitutes simple assault, usually a misdemeanor. Grimm was not arrested, of course, for his illegal, thuggish behavior. As a Congressman, he may even be immune from accountability for such criminal assault as long as he commits it in Congress.
To be more than fair to Rep. Grimm, 44, he made his threat in circumstances when he himself felt threate ned by a question from the younger, smaller man he threatened. As a former Marine and a former FBI agent, he also managed to personify the negative Hollywood stereotype of both.
This was immediately after the State of the Union on January 28. Rep. Grimm had come up to the visitors gallery above the House floor to make a quick reaction comment to the President's speech to Capitol Hill reporter Michael Scotto, of NY1, a Warner cable news channel. The reaction comment over, reporter Scotto tried to get more, saying, "And just finally before we let you go, because we have you here, we haven't had a chance to kind of talk about some of the..."
Rep. Grimm interrupted: "I'm not speaking to you off-topic, this is only about the president." Then he turned and walked away, out of the picture, as the reporter asked, "But what about the --?"
So the reporter had to close out the segment
With Rep. Grimm gone, Scotto stepped into the empty frame and said: "All right. So 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, he refused to talk about that. Back to you. "
Then, with the intensity of the shark from "Jaws," Rep. Grimm sailed back into view, confronting the startled Scotto and backing the reporter across the screen and out of sight as the camera rolled. Scotto had explained to the Congressman that the spot would be shot in one take, to "air it as live."