Michael Grimm, a Tea Party Republican Congressman from New York City, really put his foot into it this time. Actually, he put both feet and his very empty head into it.
Appearing on a live TV standup interview with reporter Michael Scotto moments after the President completed his State of the Union address, the interview seemed to go well until the reporter asked Grimm about a little-known federal investigation into allegations of irregularities in his campaign fund-raising. What was little known at the time immediately became very well-known the instant the physically imposing Grimm went ballistic and rushed at the reporter and threatened to hurl him “off the f***king balcony” for asking him about the investigation.
At one point in Grimm’s public meltdown, he belligerently said to Scotto, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough.” Then further threatened the slight reporter by saying, “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
All the while, the camera was rolling!
Grimm failed to remember some basic cardinal rules of media interviews:
Never say anything to a reporter that you wouldn’t want to see on TV that night or in the papers the next morning.
Always assume the microphone is on.
And you are always on the record.
I doubt Rep. Grimm ever read my book on Crisis Communications, which covers these and other relevant points about media interviews during stressful times. But he might want to get a copy now before he does more damage to himself.
It took him a day to finally apologize to the reporter, who has already made the rounds of many national media outlets. Look for Scotto’s journalism star to rise.
As for Grimm? Now that he singlehandedly brought the spotlight of the federal investigation into bright glare where none existed previously, it’s a safe bet that his future in politics is… forgive me…grim.