The word in political circles is that Representative Michael Grimm is a strong favorite to win re-election in his district in Brooklyn and Staten Island, the latter the one predominantly Republican borough in New York City.
The FBI had been investigating the New York Republican for over two years before he was indicted in April for fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury. After President Obama's State of the Union address in January of 2014, New York 1 reporter Michael Scotto dared ask Grimm (video below) on the Capitol balcony about the ongoing investigation
when Grimm stopped him: “I’m not talking about anything that’s off-topic, this is only about the president,” he said, before walking away from the camera.
As Scotto began to explain to TV viewers that the Congressman did not want to answer questions about the investigation, Grimm stormed back over to Scotto, kicking off an angry exchange as the camera kept rolling:
According to New York 1‘s transcript of the exchange, Grimm told Scotto, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.” When Scotto defended his line of questioning, Grimm told him, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” Grimm initially blamed the confrontation on Scotto, then later called the reporter, who maintained the congressman said he had "overreacted."
Whatever else Grimm uttered, Scotto took it as an "apology," which he accepted. But in a recent debate
with Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) addressed the incident that occurred after this year's State of the Union address when his threat to throw a reporter off a Capitol balcony was captured on camera.
"Sometimes I get my Italian up," Grimm reportedly said during the debate. "I'm human."
Grimm isn't the first evidently corrupt member of the United States Congress, nor will he be the last. But it isn't every day that a U.S. Representative- especially a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine- threatens the life of another individual. That's illegal in most places. In New Jersey, for instance, it is considered "terroristic threats," an offense equivalent to a felony, albeit not an especially serious one.
Nor is it so common for an FBI agent-turned-congressman to be accused of having received by coercion a payment given to him "in an envelope as he stood outside the FBI's New York office."
Sometimes I get my Italian up. I'm not even sure what that means, given it is not the classic way to think of an Italian, unless it's some Cosa Nostra reference. (Hey, I'm not doing the stereotyping- he is.) Perhaps we need some equal opportunity stereotypes. "Sometimes I get my Polish up," a Polish-American might say to excuse certain behavior on his/her part. Or "sometimes I get my Jew up." The "sometimes I get my African-American up" would be a real knee-slapper.
Grimm, will, of course, skate. Maybe he'll get a pass because he himself is of Italian extraction (only on his mother's side), though that's no excuse for bad behavior, speech which reinforces a stereotype of a particular ethnic group. Fortunately for him, he merely smeared an entire ethnic group rather than having committed a sexual sin which might have, like John Edwards, gotten himself banished from polite society forever.