Grimm Labeled 'Hothead' in Newspaper Account of Past Eruptions

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 07:36 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Rep. Michael Grimm, the Staten Island Republican who was caught on camera Tuesday night threatening a television reporter, has a reputation for being a "hothead," The New York Times reports.

In 2012, the newspaper noted, he allegedly showed a butter knife to a Democratic politician who had made a joke at Grimm's expense over breakfast. "I'm not laughing," Grimm reportedly said at the time, according to a report carried on in the City & State political website.

Another time, he became enraged at a reporter for a Brooklyn blog who was covering a community group's meeting. He also had a previous run-in with NY1 television staffers and told them to step "outside" after they asked him about a probe into his campaign financing.

The year before, he threatened to knock out the teeth of a tea party activist who was filming him, the Times reported, citing a number of news reports sources, ranging .

According the Times, Grimm, a former FBI undercover agent and Marine, was also connected to a 1999 incident at a night club involving a woman, her estranged husband, and a bouncer. Grimm reportedly flashed his gun, engaged in fisticuffs, and threatened to make the husband "disappear," the Times reported, citing a story in The New Yorker.

His apparent hot-temperedness was on more public display in the Tuesday incident when he threatened to throw Michael Scotto, a reporter for the NY1 cable news station, over a balcony in a congressional office building. Scotto had asked about an ongoing federal investigation into the congressman's campaign fundraising on camera after Grimm had finished commenting on President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The 43 year-old Grimm, whose district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is the only Republican in the New York City congressional delegation.

After that incident, which also included telling Scotto he would "break" him in half "like a boy," Grimm initially put out a statement defending his behavior. But as the incident drew national attention, the congressman called Scotto to apologize.

Scotto said he accepted the apology, according to the Times.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Grimm's conduct "absolutely inappropriate" and called on the House to sanction him. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner also agreed that an apology was called for.

The conservative Wall Street Journal also weighed in, calling Grimm a bully who should be in anger management, not Congress.

"The fundraising scandal is news, and the reporter — who was cordial and respectful throughout the interview — wouldn't have been doing his job if he didn't ask about it," the Journal reported, referring to the federal investigation.

The newspaper noted that Grimm could have simply ducked the question, as any politician might.

"Usually, however, they manage to do so without threatening bodily harm. Mr. Grimm's constituents deserve better. He should be in anger-management therapy, not Congress," the Journal observed.

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