New York congressman Michael Grimm apologized Wednesday for physically threatening a reporter at the Capitol, saying there’s “no excuse” for his behavior and that the incident “shouldn’t have happened.”
“I'm a human being and sometimes your emotions get the better of you,” he told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell. “And the bottom line though is it shouldn't happen, you shouldn't lose your cool, and that's why I apologized. When you're wrong you're wrong, you have to admit it, and it shouldn't have happened.”
In an interview after the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Grimm refused to answer questions from NY1 reporter Michael Scotto about allegations involving his campaign finances. While the camera was still rolling, but after Scotto signed off, Grimm approached him and threatened to “throw you off this f-----g balcony.” He also told Scotto “I’ll break you in half.”
On Wednesday, Grimm attributed his outburst to a long day and the congressional fight over flood insurance, which he says disproportionately affects constituents still grappling with Hurricane Sandy.
“Combination of a long day, fighting for flood insurance all day and then the fact that I ran to the Cannon rotunda, I was out of breath,” he told NBC.
Grimm, a former Marine combat veteran and onetime FBI undercover agent, unseated a Democrat in 2010 in his Staten Island district.
But despite early backing from some of the party’s biggest names – like Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin – Grimm has faced ethics accusations during his tenure in the House, including alleged breaking of fundraising rules by using straw donors to avoid donation limits. He’s also faced questions about business ties to an associate later indicted on fraud charges and inappropriately soliciting assistance from a foreign national . Grimm has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Last November, the House ethics committee said it would defer its investigation into Grimm at the request of the Department of Justice.