Even at swearing-in, Grimm takes some heat

Even at swearing-in, Grimm takes some heat
Photo by Tom Callan

Hey, Michael, never forget the little guy.

That was the sage counsel that Brooklyn President Markowitz gave Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) on Sunday at the freshman legislator’s ceremonial swearing-in in Dyker Heights, moments before the Marine and former FBI agent set aside the Beep’s advice and derided the “hand-out” culture in America today.

Markowitz went on a preemptive strike against the conservative Grimm.

“It’s easy to represent folks that have a lot, but those that need government are generally those that have less,” the Democrat said. “Always keep them in your thoughts, for they are the ones who look upon us for assistance. Those that you help may remember what you did, but those that you don’t help never forget.”

The borough president was one of many legislators — but one of only two name Democrats — wishing Grimm well at the Knights of Columbus hall on 86th Street in Dyker Heights, the third time that Grimm had taken the oath of office since officially becoming the congressman last Wednesday.

Grimm embraced Markowitz and gladly accepted a Brooklyn pin from him — yet made an abrupt right turn from the Beep’s remarks, saying that the “American spirit of our great nation” shouldn’t come with federally subsidized assistance.

“Let us go forth dependent not on the handouts of a government bureaucrat, but on our own commitment to sacrifice for our well being and for that of our children and our fellow Americans who, by virtue of circumstance, cannot join in the struggle.”

He added that he wants to praise Americans who “roll back the entitlement mentality and commit a renewed sense of shared sacrifice to ensure our future and that of our children and grandchildren.”

Grimm’s words were cheered by many in the room, including state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge).

Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) didn’t enter the fray, saying he was taking off his “Democratic hat” to congratulate Grimm on his first week in office.

Since being sworn into office on Jan. 5, Grimm’s proven to be quite adept at toeing the GOP line. After being sworn in by then-Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Grimm’s first act was to make Rep. John Boehner (R–Ohio) the new speaker, a move, he said, that would help undo the “Pelosi liberal agenda.”

On Thursday, he voted to trim Congress’s budget by five percent. Then, on Friday, he supported a procedural measure that would allow the GOP-led House of Representatives to scrap health care reform, which was expected to come to the floor this week until Boehner suspended all upcoming votes after an assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D–Arizona) on Saturday.

Grimm said Saturday’s shooting was a “low point” in a week filled with both personal victories and tragedies.

He recently learned that two longtime supporters in his bid for the cross-harbor district perished in a car crash in Staten Island. He also learned that an FBI colleague died of a heart attack.

“I’m trying to celebrate, but it is with a heavy heart,” Grimm said. “My mind is with the families of those involved in these tragedies.”

Bedfellows: Grimm was strongly congratulated by state Sen. Marty Golden.
Photo by Tom Callan