One of the most popular videos on YouTube today is a clip showing Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican and Marine veteran from Staten Island, threatening a reporter from New York City local news station NY1 with physical violence following a brief on-camera interview.
It’s hard to hear what Grimm says in the clip to reporter Michael Scotto, but the New York Times has a transcript and description of the interaction:
“What?” Mr. Scotto said. Before he could explain that he was just trying to ask him a question, Mr. Grimm became unhinged.
“Let me be clear to you,” he said in a low voice, before using a profanity and warning that he would hurl Mr. Scotto from the balcony.
There is some cross talk between the two men which was not audible on the video before Mr. Grimm concluded with an insult and another threat.
“No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough,” he said. “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Today, NYT reports, Grimm is not backing down or apologizing for his actions, saying in a statement that he was doing NY1 a favor by granting its reporter an interview, and became angry when the reporter veered off-topic and asked a question about illegal fundraising allegations.
“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,” he said in the statement.
Grimm, who served as a Marine on active duty and in the Reserve from 1989-1997, deploying to Iraq in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, is no stranger to controversy and has been known to get testy when challenged.
A 2010 story by reporter Tim Mak noted that Grimm channeled another famous Marine, Jack Nicholson’s Col. Jessep from A Few Good Men, when an opponent accused him of wearing awards he didn’t rate in a campaign photo:
Grimm told the interviewer on NY1’s Inside City Hall that Allegretti “sleep[s]under a blanket of freedom that I helped provide… you should just say thank you.” The original line, said by Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Jessep to Tom Cruise’s Lieutenant Kaffee in the film, was that Kaffee “sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I’d prefer you just said ‘thank you’ and went on your way.”
It would appear that Grimm thinks we just can’t handle the truth. What do you think?