Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) seized on the outburst of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) to note that Capitol rotunda balcony-throwing is wrong.
She also seized on Grimm’s behavior as an opportunity to pick up a House seat.
Grimm was being interviewed by NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto after the State of the Union address when Scotto tried to ask the congressman about a campaign finance investigation. The congressman walked off, then returned to threaten the reporter on camera. “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,” Grimm said. “…I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
“I think any time a member of Congress or any elected official would threaten to throw anyone over the balcony, or say any of the other things that were really disturbing that Michael Grimm said last night — I mean, that balcony is right behind me. I can tell ya it’s a long way down,” Wasserman Schultz said today on an MSNBC feed.
Grimm finally called the reporter today to apologize, saying he “overreacted.” Scotto tweeted that he accepted the apology.
But that came after a Grimm statement justifying his behavior. “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,” he said. “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.”
“You know, issuing a statement that, you know, of course we all get mad. I’m sure lots of members of Congress want to push back on reporters. Sure. I — there are times when I don’t like the questions I’m asked, but threatening physical violence has never been my instinctive reaction to anyone asking me a question I’d rather not answer,” Wasserman Schultz said.
“And it’s just a reflection on his judgment. And, you know, his constituents — Michael Grimm is not going to be in an easy race. This is a competitive congressional district, one in which I think Democrats already had a good chance to pick up from the Republicans, and it’s given his opponent even more reason to help voters make the right choice,” the DNC chairwoman added.
The Democrats’ House Majority PAC had already put Grimm on a list of 10 most competitive seats this fall. The party is running Brooklyn City Councilman Domenic Recchia. Polling conducted in the district has shown a statistical tie.