Connie Schultz: A modern-day Grimm tale
By Connie Schultz
For the life of me, I can’t think of a single woman who would respond to a reporter’s question by ridiculing his masculinity and then threatening to throw him over a balcony.
Honestly, what is it about us women? Why do we never go there? Think of the attention we’d get.
Speaking of Rep. Michael Grimm, let us consider how that b-roll clip of an exchange between him and a TV reporter from New York will be his most memorable role in what is bound to be a short career in Congress.
Minutes after President Barack Obama had delivered his State of the Union address, Michael Scotto from the local cable news network NY1 stopped Grimm for a chat on the marble balcony in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building.
Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, was very, very busy, you understand, and this interview was not scheduled. Nevertheless, he paused for Scotto to bash the president’s speech as “divisive.”
Scotto, clearly ungrateful for this few seconds of predictable appraisal, tried to change the subject and ask Grimm about recent developments in an ongoing federal investigation into his campaign finances.
As The New York Times reported earlier in January, a female friend and fundraiser from Texas — Texas! Again! — has been charged with funneling illegal donations into his campaign.
As Scotto explained the following morning on “Morning Joe” — with exquisitely correct grammar, I note with a sigh of appreciation — he and other reporters had tried for two weeks, without success, to get the congressman to respond to these recent developments in the investigation. So Scotto thought he’d give it a go in the rotunda.
Grimm was appalled. “I’m not speaking about anything that’s off-topic. This is only about the president.”
Off he stomped, which Scotto was duly noting on camera until Grimm reappeared and leaned in to deliver a warning to the reporter.
Their exchange, as provided by NY1:
Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
Scotto: “Why? I just wanted to ask you…”
Grimm: “If you ever do that to me again…”
Scotto: “Why? Why? It’s a valid question.”
Grimm: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Fascinating — isn’t it? — when a congressman in 2014 recycles a line from a 1992 movie about real estate salesmen. (See Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross” — played by Alec Baldwin. Hmm.)
Minutes later, Grimm issued a statement:
“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. 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, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. 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.”
As all good parents know, Grimm has delivered quite the instructive tale with one click of a video:
This is a thug.
The following morning, Grimm released another statement and this time managed even to apologize:
“I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post Sandy.”
In a single tweet Wednesday morning, NPR’s “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep summed it up best:
“Thing is, I had no idea of Cong. Grimm’s campaign finance issue until he so dramatically refused to address it.”