Maybe, we all need to look a little further into Congressman Mike Grimm’s inexplicable rage at cable newsman Michael Scotto
Is Michael Grimm’s Rotundagate scandal just a 24-hour news cycle event with a few day hangover for talk show jokes and media cartoons ? — Or is it actually the tip of an iceberg that is evidence of a much bigger scandal ?
Yesterday, Congressman Michael Grimm’s threatening NY 1 reporter Michael Scotto was all the news across the nation. Needless to say, even I made a big deal of it right here on The Brooklyn Independent GOP Fountainhead blog. After about a day, actually almost coinciding with the lapse of the 24-hour news cycle, the national story of Michael Grimm's raging at Michael Scotto in the Capitol rotunda morphed into a great big national joke.
An image of Grimm as a big green Incredible Hulk-like helpless giant standing amid a destroyed Capitol building with a small black-suited man broken in half at his feet was the political cartoon in the New York Daily News – with two balloons to the green Hulk containing the quotes, “GRIMM SORRY” and “GRIMM BUY EVERYBODY LUNCH” ( See “Rep. Grimm apologizes to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, schedules ...” William Bramhall, 1/29/14, New York Daily News [https://www.google.com/search?q=Michael+Grimm+Daily+News+Cartoon&espv=210&es_sm=]).
Also by now, there are many reports of Jon Stewart’s use of the Grimm-Scotto material as part of his show last night ( See e.g. “Jon Stewart says Michael Grimm Was Giving the ‘Traditional Staten Island Goodbye’ ” by Colin Campbell, 1/30/14, NY Observer/ Politicker [http://politicker.com/2014/01/jon-stewart-says-michael-grimm-was-giving-the-traditional-staten-island-goodbye/]; with a link to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Grimm humor). Among several really good laugh lines about Staten Island and our beloved NY1, Stewart put it all in context with this: “... the guy threatening to hurl a New York 1 reporter off a balcony is not a thug in a Batman film but someone we elected to Congress.”
However, maybe it’s a little early for Grimm’s threatening the newsman story to be reduced to cartoons and the jokes, because there is still a Paul Harvey-style “Rest of the Story” that might be coming. — Why, it might be here already !
One of Michael Grimm’s former political opponents, Democrat Mark Murphy, has told the political news web site Talking Points Memo that steroid use is to blame for a history of enraged outbursts by Grimm, and Tuesday night’s incident with Michael Scotto in the rotunda was only the latest example of it (See “Ex-Rival Blames Grimm's 'Thug' Outbursts On Steroids” by Hunter Walker, 1/29/14, Talking Points Memo/ Muckraker [http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/murphy-grimm-steroids]). According to Hunter Walker’s report on the TPM blog, “Mark Murphy, a Democrat who lost a House race against Grimm in 2012, spoke to TPM and said that while he has no direct evidence he believes that steroid use is responsible for multiple incidents where Grimm and a man he described as the congressman's "bodyguard" have lost their cool. *** ‘These guys are wrapped so tight from the steroids that they're on, it's insane,’ Murphy said.” Murphy, is a real estate developer and the son of former Congressman John Murphy and took pains to reiterate, "I have no knowledge whether or not [Grimm and the bodyguard are] on steroids, but they just seem wound so tight it would seem that they are on something.”
The TPM post went on to say that they specifically sought a comment from Grimm and/or his staff, but that Grimm's office declined to comment, as follows: "Thank you for your solicitation for additional comment from Congressman Grimm. I am in receipt of your request," spokesman Nick Iacono wrote in an email to TPM. "The Congressman will not be giving any additional comments on this matter at this time."
In addition, both Murphy and TPM related much of their story to Marc Alvarez, reportedly a bodyguard to the congressman. TPM indicated that on Wednesday they attempted to call Marc Alvarez at his home, by calling a phone number believed to belong to him. A short time later, a man called back from that number and identified himself as Alvarez. His communication to TPM was terse, "Don't call my house again," he said before hanging up. After another attempted call by TPM, the same man said, “This is my house. You don't call my house. This is the second time. Call me again and I'm going to put in a harassment call. OK?"
Hunter Walker’s TPM article closed with this: “For his part, Murphy seemed convinced Tuesday's threats won’t be Grimm's last outburst. ‘He has a switch and that guy's going to snap. He really is,’ Murphy said."
The TPM post was picked up and echoed by other media outlets (See e.g. ““Michael Grimm Apologizes For Threats, But Are Steroids To Blame?” 1/29/14, Inquisitr [http://www.inquisitr.com/1113387/michael-grimm-apologizes-for-threats-but-are-steroids-to-blame/]; “The real problem with dangerous goon Michael Grimm – We shouldn't let people like him have badges and guns” by Alex Pareene, 1/30/14, Salon [http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/michael_grimm_bad_cop/]; and several others).
The Salon post by Alex Pareene, mentioned above, opened with this background material prior to relating the observations and opinions of Mark Murphy: “New York Rep. Michael Grimm is an unstable, possibly dangerous goon. That much was obvious in the video in which he corners and threatens NY1 reporter Michael Scotto. His act may not have surprised readers of the New Yorker’s 2011 profile of Grimm, which describes the 1999 night that Grimm, brandishing a gun, terrorized a nightclub full of people in search of a man with whom he’d fought earlier. Grimm’s propensity for abusive language and ridiculous macho posturing was also well-known to New York and Washington reporters. *** Grimm’s actions that night at the Caribbean Tropics nightclub in Queens would have likely put a regular citizen in jail for years. But Grimm was not a regular citizen: He was an FBI agent at the time, and thus, after an internal investigation, he received no punishment at all. (The NYPD has declined repeated requests to release public records related to the incident.)”
Obviously, all these articles are not dispositive of any of the issues raised therein. I would expect these matters to be revisited as more facts emerge about the congressman and any of those around him who might become involved in due course.