Former congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) threatened to have a Politico reporter arrested Tuesday, falsely claiming that the reporter assaulted him. A video of the scuffle, which took place in Philadelphia at an event hosted by Politico, tells a very different story, however.
The fracas began when reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere approached Grayson — currently a candidate for the U.S. Congress — to ask him about allegations of domestic abuse, a story Politico has reported on extensively.
Grayson’s ex-wife has alleged that he battered her over the course of two decades — allegations he strongly denies.
According to Politico, Grayson only provided a comment through his lawyer for its most recent article, which includes “police and court documents dating back to 1994.”
— The People's Cube 🚁🤸 (@ThePeoplesCube) March 7, 2014
A video of the exchange shows Grayson refusing to stop to talk to Dovere and appearing to nudge him aside as the congressman made his way towards the elevator.
Grayson grew visibly frustrated as Dovere continued to follow him. The exchange came to a head as the Florida congressman alleged that the reporter had assaulted him.
“You’re getting in my way, my friend. You’re assaulting a member of Congress. You’re pushing me. Have this guy escorted out, please,” Grayson said. He continued arguing with Dovere as he waited for an elevator to arrive.
“Do you seriously think that this is the proper way to conduct an interview?” Grayson asked.
The reporter responded that Grayson came to a Politico event so he thought he’d ask him a question.
“My mistake. My mistake, okay?” Grayson heaved. “Now people know going forward that simply showing up to a public event means that you can come and hassle me.”
The two argued about who pushed who, and Dovere informed him that Politico videographers had captured the entire altercation on tape.
“Well that’s right and it’s a good thing,” Grayson said of the video evidence. “I’ll be handing it over to the Capitol Police, my friend.”
Dovere tried one last time to ask Grayson about his ex-wife’s claims, but he refused to answer, suggesting again that the reporter could be arrested.
“You know, I’m hoping that somebody comes here and arrests you,” Grayson said. “We’ll see if that happens or not.”
Here is former Congressman @AlanGrayson threatening to have Politico's @IsaacDovere arrested… @PolitiFact has just announced that they're bringing Grayson on to "serve as reader advocate for PolitiFact…critiquing our work and publishing on https://t.co/8q55Id18Vr"
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 1, 2018
This isn’t the first time Grayson has engaged in thuggish behavior, Politico points out:
Last year, when asked about his private hedge fund potentially violating House ethics rules, Grayson snapped at a Tampa Bay Times reporter by calling him a “shitting robot.” Days later, he also had a tense exchange with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Jon Tester in which the congressman used a crude term to describe his Senate race opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Just as POLITICO posted the video of the exchange, two liberal groups took the rare step of jointly withdrawing their endorsements of Grayson as a result of the POLITICO story concerning the domestic-abuse issues.
“Unfortunately, this deeply disappointing revelation means progressives have no great options in the Florida race for Senate,” Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in a written statement.
“David and Alan are both particularly qualified, we think, to critique the work of PolitiFact, because they’ve been subject to our fact-checks as members of Congress,” wrote PolitiFact’s Aaron Sharockman in a now deleted post.
This tweet was also deleted:
Big news! Former Florida U.S. Reps. @DavidJollyFL and @AlanGrayson have agreed to serve as reader advocates for PolitiFact. They’ll be critiquing our work and publishing on https://t.co/6iAcZZN0ud. Read why we’re doing this, and let us know what you think. https://t.co/XBEjhDez7j
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) February 1, 2018
Politifact quickly retracted its decision to use Grayson as a “reader advocate” after it was barraged with negative comments from people cracking that the fact-checking site should have done a better job fact-checking Grayson..
CLOWN SHOW! PolitiFact FIRES Alan Grayson after failing to check the facts (and getting DRAGGED) https://t.co/kmst8PrAWZ
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) February 1, 2018
We sought out a Democrat and Republican to critique our work in order to try to improve the trust and credibility in fact-checking and PolitiFact. It has become clear our choice of Alan Grayson did not meet that threshold to many. pic.twitter.com/uJuoHhiObI
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) February 1, 2018