Washington Bureau

01.29.14

How Michael Grimm's Threat Ruined Randy Weber's Troll

When Staten Island Republican Michael Grimm threatened a reporter Tuesday night, it ruined Texas congressman Randy Weber's bid for fame.

Randy Weber was poised to become a minor conservative celebrity Tuesday night and then Michael Grimm had to pick a fight with a reporter.

Weber, a first-term Republican congressman from Texas, gained a brief burst of national attention for a somewhat bizarre anti-Obama tweet Tuesday night. Less than an hour before the President arrived in the House chamber, Weber tweeted "On floor of house waitin on "Kommandant-In-Chef" [sic]... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it "A-Lying?" The tweet went viral, getting retweeted more than 1000 times. After all, it had something for everyone. He called Obama "Kommandant" and a "socialistic dictator" to excite those on the right. For those more minded towards snark, he seemingly omitted the letter I from "chief" and,of course, the "a line" "A-Lying" is comedy gold for Norm McDonald fans.  It seemed that Weber, once described as "a conservative legend in his own mind" might finally go national; or at least get some hits on Fox News.

But, after the speech, Weber became a non-entity. Michael Grimm, a two-term Republican congressman from Staten Island stole all the oxygen.

When Grimm physically threatened a reporter for NY1 on camera Tuesday night, he not only stole the limelight from Weber but perhaps even from Barack Obama too. The entire saga played out in incremental parts. First video emerged with only garbled audio. Then, a transcript emerged and it became clear that Grimm told a reporter "I'll break you in half. Like a boy" after threatening to throw him off a balcony.

This left Grimm the story of the night---after all, the press can only focus on one backbench Republican congressman at a time and Randy Weber missed his chance for this year. But, there's always next year when Grimm may not be around to steal Weber's spotlight. While the New York congressman is facing a campaign finance investigation and a tough re-election campaign, Weber represents a deep-red district on Texas's Gulf Coast and is a shoo-in to return to Capitol Hill. He just has to figure out how to top "Kommandant-In-Chef" in 2015.