NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm has never been shy about promoting himself as a tough guy.
When he ran for Congress in 2009, he highlighted his service in the Marines and as an undercover FBI agent. After his election, he brushed off allegations that he’d once brandished a gun during an early-morning altercation at a New York City nightclub by saying he was armed but hadn’t verbally threatened to kill anyone.
“That’s not my personality. I don’t need to speak that way,” he told a writer for the New Yorker. “A guy with a gun who knows how to use it doesn’t need to say anything.”
The Staten Island Republican’s temperament is at the forefront again after he was caught on camera threatening a television news reporter.
The confrontation occurred on a balcony in the Capitol following the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. Grimm walked out of an interview with the New York City cable news station NY1 when reporter Michael Scotto tried to throw in a last question about a long-running FBI investigation into his campaign finances.
Scotto protested, saying he was asking “a valid question.”
Grimm glanced at the camera, leaned in again and said, “No. No. You’re not man enough. You’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
But after a morning of heavy public criticism, he phoned Scotto to apologize.
“He said he overreacted,” Scotto told The Associated Press. “He said that the behavior that he showed wasn’t him. So I accepted the apology.”
Later Wednesday, Grimm told a group of reporters that he would probably be getting an earful from his mother.
“The bottom line is, sometimes I wear my emotions on my sleeve,” he said. “I was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Allegations of a hot-temper have dogged Grimm.
In 2000, a New York City police officer filed a lawsuit against Grimm over an incident a year earlier at a nightclub in Queens. Gordon Williams, who was moonlighting as a club bouncer, said Grimm had gotten into a fight, then returned at 2:30 a.m. carrying a gun and “carrying on like a madman.”