Convicted felon Michael Grimm told to shut up and go away. Again. Now.



For an elected official supposedly with the task of serving all the people in a fair and measured manner, NY Representative Micheal Grimm could not have more succinctly shown his disdain for the office and those he served.

More often than not, what ruins our image and our brand is simple human emotion. Raw moments of unchecked anger and ego are the toughest to control, and always leave the worst lasting impression.

We’re not all “Mr. Spock”. There is not a truly dispassionate person among us who can keep our emotions in check at the flip of a mental switch. It’s simply not human nature.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t do everything we can to learn the dangers of raw emotion and how a few seconds letting it out of the bag can ruin careers and lives.

Especially if we exist in the public eye. Entertainers often get away with childish antics. Those given the ability to really affect the lives of everyday people won’t get away it it. 

Which brings us to politics. Perhaps more so than any other individuals and groups I work with, politicians are the ones I often have to look square in the eye and make a simple, hard edged point that often insults them, but one they need to learn. The smart ones listen and take it as constructive criticism. The arrogant ones never last, either as a client or an effective public servant.

“Learn to shut you mouth and walk away”. And it’s never more true than when interacting with the media.

Representative Michael Grimm is no neophyte when it comes to working with the media, or knowing  how to keep his cool. A former FBI agent and an elected official since 2011, he knows how the game works. At least at this infamous moment, he should have.

New York Rep. Michael Grimm threatens reporter after being asked about fundraising allegations

During an interview following President Obama’s State of the Union address, the embattled Staten Island Republican grew angry after and made a violent threat against a NY1 reporter.

By Adam Edelman AND Joseph Straw / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 11:55 PM

<br /><br /> Screen grab: Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten island confronts NY1 reporter Michael Scotto after President Obama gives the State of the Union speech.<br /><br />

WASHINGTON — Embattled New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm threatened to “break” a NY1 reporter and throw him off a balcony after President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The confrontation occurred on Capitol Hill when reporter Michael Scotto followed up questions about the President’s speech by pressing the congressman on a federal investigation into his fund-raising.

“Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances … but as you saw he refused to talk about that,” Scotto said as Grimm began to walk away.Hearing Scotto’s comment, Grimm turned and walked toward the NY1 reporter.

“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,” Grimm said, according to the cable news channel.“Why, why, I just wanted to ask you?” Scotto responded.

“If you ever do that to me again,” the Staten Island congressman shot back.When Scotto replied, “why, why it’s a valid question,” Grimm said: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” according to the NY1 transcript.

In a statement issued early Wednesday morning, NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt said, “It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters – let alone a U.S. Congressman. The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm and demands a full apology from him. This behavior is unacceptable.”

But Grimm said he was the victim of a “cheap shot” interview and offered no apology.



– Rep. Grimm claimed he granted the interview on the assurance the discussion would be only about the State of the Union and nothing more. Even if the reporter gave that promise, he’s a reporter. If you are being interviewed by anyone, anytime, you expect to be hit with every question no matter the assurance.

A reporter’s job is to get the story, and in today’s media environment, to assist in making news. Good reporters know that if they ask a provocative question at the right moment, it will get a reaction. If the question is answered, good. If the question is answered with “flair”, all the better.

Microphones and cameras are ALWAYS ON. Even when they’re off, THEY ARE ON. It’s the first lesson I teach everyone that appears in the public arena. And especially if you’re being interviewed by a broadcast outlet, that videographer (camera operator) on the other side of the lens has that camera rolling often even when they say it’s off. It’s a standard TV news trick.

– Grimm is the subject of some controversial allegations. Did he really think that when given a chance a TV reporter wouldn’t ask about it? It’s the classic “catch the subject off guard” ploy. And it worked because Grimm wasn’t fast enough on his feet to recognize it. He is no stranger to this type of rodeo. He should have seen it coming. If he really thought the interview would be about one promised subject only while there is other news swirling around him, he was and is foolish.

– The reporter was risking he might never get another interview with Grimm. Doubtful. Politicians need the press as much as the press needs politicians. Anyone pay attention the 2016 US Presidential election?

– Grimm later apologized, said the two would gather for lunch and “put the issue behind them”. Never happened. Grimm will be on his guard every time he sees this reporter or the NY1 mic flag.

– Lastly, no. You did not have a right to get angry and react in this manner. 

Representative Grimm gaffed badly here. This incident marked him as being angry, vindictive, threatening, and certainly give his opponents plenty of new fodder. They will certainly now attack him for failing to be a level-headed leader, and the video will, of course, live forever.

And it resurrected past failings for all to remember exactly his lack of responsibility and simple common sense. Brandishing a handgun in a nightclub is not exactly the kind of reputation many people would vote for if they knew the story.

Measure your reactions. Know where you are. Know your surroundings and act accordingly. Protect your image at all costs, and sometimes that cost is to swallow your pride & ego.

SHUT UP and walk away.

Grimm, of course, was forced to apologize in seeking to save his career.

Michael Grimm apologizes to reporter

By TAL KOPAN | 1/29/14 11:24 AM EST Updated: 1/29/14 12:21 PM EST


Rep. Michael Grimm on Wednesday personally apologized to a reporter he physically threatened after the State of the Union during an interview.

Grimm called NY1 reporter Michael Scotto Wednesday morning and Scotto accepted his apology, the reporter tweeted.

The New York Republican said he “overreacted,” Scotto said.The incident happened during a live interview with Scotto after the president’s address to Congress on Tuesday night. Scotto asked Grimm a question about a probe into alleged campaign violations, causing Grimm to storm off.

He then returned and got in Scotto’s face, threatening to throw him over the balcony if he asked the question again. The exchange was caught on live TV, though it took place partially off camera.In an interview Wednesday on the Hill and a statement put out by his office, Grimm said he will be going to lunch with Scotto, as well.

“I’m a human being, and sometimes your emotions get the better of you,” Grimm said. “The bottom line, though, is it shouldn’t happen, you shouldn’t lose your cool. That’s why I apologized. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and you have to admit it. It shouldn’t happen.”

Nice job. Good apology. Didn’t work. The damage was done.


Michael Grimm’s career was a fast slide to infamy after this. He resigned from Congress in January of 2015 after being indicted on 20 counts of fraud, tax evasion and perjury. And few felt sorry for him after this tirade went global. He earned the scorn and reaped the whirlwind for his arrogance, which was a prison sentence.  





For those who thought this might be the end of the story, guess again. When it comes to politics and arrogance, not even a Federal conviction and jail time will stop someone as bold as Grimm from seeking another bite of the apple.

In October of 2017, Grimm announced he wanted his old job back and was promptly told by his former colleagues and those currently in Congress…dare I write again?….shut up and go away.


Everyone certainly deserves a second chance, sometimes even a third. In rare cases, perhaps more.

Michael Grimm has displayed not a single characteristic that would make him eligible for such consideration. Not. One.

He served his time and has earned the right to get on with his life. But to have the unmitigated gall to seek his former position as someone representing the people of a district in Washington, D.C.?

Grimm would be better off as a stand up comic. This would certainly make for wonderful material.

Don’t be Grimm in your personal and professional life. Learn from a master of reputation disaster and be better.

It’s easy. And you won’t have to throw someone from s balcony or embarrass yourself publicly time and time again to make it happen.