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Classy Congressman Michael Grimm Has A History Of Outbursts

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AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

Grimm later issued a statement saying he had been "annoyed" because Scotto had "insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview." (Scotto had wanted to ask him about the ongoing federal investigation into Grimm's 2010 campaign fundraising.)

Tuesday's hot mic moment wasn't the first time Grimm has let his hotheadedness get the best of him. There's a history here.

Grimm And The Nightclub

In 2011, reporter Evan Ratliff wrote in The New Yorker about a 1999 incident that occurred at a nightclub in Queens, N.Y., at a time when Grimm was still an FBI agent.

At the Caribbean Tropics nightclub, Grimm allegedly threatened another patron -- the estranged husband of a woman Grimm had entered the club with. Grimm reportedly said the man "don’t know who he’s fucking with … I’ll fuckin’ make him disappear where nobody will find him.” That same night, (and we're glossing over the part where Grimm allegedly said "I’m a fucking F.B.I. agent, ain’t nobody gonna threaten me.") Grimm allegedly returned to the club with another FBI agent and several New York City police officers. He then refused to let club patrons and employees leave, and allegedly told everyone to "get up against the fucking wall" and gave an order: "all the white people get out of here.”

Grimm denied making many of the statements in Ratliff's story, called the story "fiction" and "a witch hunt," and offered a different version of events. From The New Yorker:

Grimm says he only entered the club once near closing time and was jumped by the husband and several of his friends. [...] As noted in my story, he said he did not brandish his gun, but merely moved it from his ankle holster to his waist band, “because the bouncers didn’t exactly look friendly.”

Grimm And The Democrat

On Election Night 2012, Grimm beat Democrat Mark Murphy and won re-election to a second term in Congress. The Staten Island Advance described the campaign, whose final weeks were interrupted by Hurricane Sandy, as "bitter and divisive campaign." And it stayed that way, even after the campaign was over. Grimm told reporters on Election Night that he wouldn't accept a concession call from Murphy even if it came.

"I have no respect for him as a man, a person or anything," Grimm said. "He has disgraced himself and his family."

Grimm And The Eighth Graders

In September 2012, cement blocks were thrown through the windows of Grimm's campaign headquarters on Staten Island, N.Y. Grimm reacted quickly, calling the incident "politically motivated" and "an assault on democracy and the political process." And things looked serious: Grimm's campaign said in a statement that New York City police believed the the broken windows were a "cover-up" for someone who "erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server."

"In 2010, campaigns across the nation were fueled with high levels of passion, yet even then we never saw anything as dirty or disgraceful as this," Grimm said.

A few days later, a perpetrator came forward. It was an eighth grader, who told a school counselor that he and a friend had done the deed. Grimm later issued a statement saying his campaign was "very relieved to know this is not politically motivated." He also admitted that the hard drive issues could have been caused by a campaign volunteer.

Grimm And The Butter Knife

At a June 2012 New York AFL-CIO breakfast with New York's congressional delegation, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) announced that he would have to leave early to attend a meeting of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), according to the City & State newspaper.

“But no one here should worry,” Israel told the other lawmakers, a reference to the fact that the DCCC was targeting several incumbent New York republicans.

Some people laughed. But not Grimm, who reportedly sat "stone-faced."

“You’re not laughing, Grimm,” Israel said.

At that point, Grimm "picked up and wielded a butter knife from a dining table at the catered event, looked at Israel, and said simply, 'I’m not laughing.'"

“The difference between you and my Democratic colleagues is that you actually show the knife," Israel responded.

Grimm and The Reporters

Tuesday night wasn't the first time Grimm had blown up in response to a NY1 reporter's questions. In December 2012, NY1's Errol Louis asked Grimm during an interview about the investigation into his campaign finances. After the interview was over, and when he was actually off-camera, Grimm "became red-faced and started yelling" at Louis and NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt, according to an account Hardt published on Wednesday.

"After the interview, Grimm became red-faced and started yelling at both Louis and me, alluding to settling the issue by 'taking it outside' with our political anchor – acting as if he were in a bar instead of a TV studio," Hardt wrote. "He’s also complained to me when our reporters on Staten Island asked him about the probe when he was running for re-election in 2012."

Additional reporting by Hunter Walker.

This post has been updated.

About The Author

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com