On Sunday, GOP Congressman Michael Grimm announced that pieces of cement were thrown through the window of his campaign headquarters on Staten Island. In addition to the smashed windows, Mr. Grimm and his campaign claimed hard drives in the office were erased and described the crime as “politically motivated” in a series of statements and an emergency press conference.
The campaign of Mr. Grimm’s Democratic opponent Mark Murphy flatly condemned the act, but multiple Democratic insiders who have been following the race expressed skepticism of Mr. Grimm’s story when offered the chance to give their private thoughts on the politically sensitive topic. For their part, Republicans we reached out to did not immediately leap at the opportunity to comment.
“The whole thing seems bizarre to a lot people,” one Democrat wrote to Politicker. “Why would someone sneak into a campaign HQ and erase stuff while tipping them off you were there. It doesn’t make any sense.”
The Democrat also took issue with Mr. Grimm comparing the alleged attack on his office to the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords that left six people dead and Mr. Grimm’s labeling of the Staten Island incident as “an assault on democracy.”
“Some moron throwing a brick threw a window in the middle of one the Island’s busiest intersections just don’t seem to add up to that level,” he argued. “But, this whole situation is just really really weird. Not to mention the cops are now saying, ‘Uh, yeah, its probably a drunken idiot not some grand political conspiracy.’ I think it was a doofus throwing a brick after a few too many beers.”
Along with the erasure of his hard drives and the smashed windows, Mr. Grimm told the Staten Island Advance the intruders installed the Linux operating system on the office’s computers. The Democrat we talked to was highly dubious anyone would do this.
“Why are they breaking in to install a different operating system (that just may be my lack of understanding about what installing it does)?” he said.
Another Democrat we spoke to immediately dismissed the entire controversy and instead pivoted to the matter of the FBI investigation into Mr. Grimm’s 2010 campaign operations.
“Grimm’s explanation of what happened over the weekend fits a pattern: he has trouble telling the truth, and tries to play the victim,” he said. “On Ofer Biton and the campaign fundraising scandal, it’s the liberal media out to get him. Now it’s dangerous vandals assaulting him and his beloved democracy. His elaborate story about the break-in just doesn’t hold together.”
A third Democrat said Mr. Grimm’s story seemed preposterous, though they stopped just short of accusing the congressman of lying about the incident.
“I’m not about to make any accusations but if Grimm is lying to the NYPD about the break-in it certainly raises questions about the whole thing,” a third Democrat said, echoing these thoughts. “Has anyone ever heard of vandals installing Linux on the computer of a Congressman under federal investigation to erase his records?”