Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) blamed the media for his woes in a new interview, accusing journalists of trying to destroy him since the moment he stepped foot in Washington.
The embattled congressman faces a 20-count federal indictment for allegedly evading taxes while running a Manhattan restaurant prior to running for Congress. The House Ethics Committee has put its investigation of the matter on hold while the Justice Department proceeds with its own probe.
Conceding he faces "serious" charges, Grimm maintains that all he wants to focus on is serving his constituents for another two years.
“And yet the press focuses on the most ridiculous nonsense that I can dream about," he told Politico. "Look, I’ll sum it up. What do I think of the press? I think, right now, and it’s been this way for two years: If I pass a burning building, and I stop and I run in and I save a baby, you know what the headline will be? ‘Grimm starts the fire.’ That’s just the reality.”
When a reporter inquired him about his legal troubles after the State of the Union address earlier this year, Grimm infamously threatened to throw him over a Capitol balcony and break him in half, "like a boy."
The two-term congressman spared Politico the same treatment:
Asked if he is innocent of the criminal charges, Grimm paused for four seconds, then chuckled softly.
“You know, uh. It depends on what you’re asking me of,” he said.
“But I’ll tell you this,” he continued. “What I’m guilty of is trying the hardest and giving 100 percent of myself and putting my heart and soul into representing the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn. But I do believe when all is said and done, I will be exonerated and I think the people that supported me will be proud that they did.”
Admitting that he "screwed up" by threatening a reporter, Grimm nevertheless defended his macho personality by arguing that his constituents sent him to Washington to fight for their priorities.
"I’m aggressive, quite frankly, because Staten Island gets screwed all the time," he said in the interview. "And if I’m not aggressive, then I won’t be successful. That’s not being a bad boy. That’s doing my job.”