WASHINGTON -- A contrite New York congressman apologized today for angrily threatening to “break” a reporter in half and throw him off a balcony in the Capitol rotunda after the State of the Union speech.
The reporter, NY1′s Michael Scotto tweeted today the Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, “called to apologize. He said he ‘overreacted.’ I accepted his apology.”
It was the second time Grimm addressed his on-camera outburst, although the first time he explained that he “verbally took the reporter to task and told him off,” and did not apologize.
The incident occurred Tuesday night after Grimm, who is under federal investigation over his 2010 campaign financing, refused to answer a question from Scotto about the investigation.
But as the cameras continued rolling, Grimm returned to physically confront Scotto, and according to a transcript posted by NY1, threatened him.
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony,” Grimm says.
After several seconds, the confrontation continues slightly off-camera, but Grimm added more as he walked away.
“No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” he said.
The video, which aired on NY1′s broadcast, is riveting. You can watch it all here.
Grimm issued a statement, slamming what he called the reporter’s “disrespectful and cheap shots.”
“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests,” Grimm said in the statement provided to NY1.
“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. … 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.”
NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt also released a statement. “It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. congressman,” Hardt said. ”The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Rep. Grimm and demands a full apology from him. This behavior is unacceptable.”