There is no perfectly right way to handle allegations of domestic violence, but Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) just demonstrated the totally wrong way. At an event hosted by Politico in Philadelphia, site of the Democratic National Convention, Grayson on Tuesday got in the face of — and made contact with — Edward-Isaac Dovere, a reporter for Politico, which earlier in the day published claims of abuse by the congressman’s ex-wife.
If you’re looking to dispute a characterization as a hot-tempered man who could be prone to violent acts, that may not be the best approach.
Video of the altercation shows Grayson, a Senate candidate, putting his hands on Dovere’s shoulders while trying to exit the event and avoid answering questions; the footage also shows Dovere stepping into Grayson’s path in a persistent attempt to ask about the accusations leveled by Lolita Grayson.
At one point, Alan Grayson appears to be in the clear but turns back to confront Dovere.
“Do you seriously think that this is the proper way to conduct an interview?” he asks.
The two men argue about who pushed whom, and Grayson says he plans to report Dovere to police.
Politico reported Tuesday morning that over a two-decade period, “Lolita Grayson called police on her husband at least two times in Virginia and two more times in Florida, sought medical attention on at least two occasions and said that, in one instance, he had threatened to kill her, according to a police report.”
In asking about Lolita Grayson’s version of events, Dovere pointed out that Alan Grayson once suggested a Republican opponent was guilty of domestic violence. The Miami Herald summarized that episode a couple of years ago:
In 2012, during a debate against Republican Todd Long, Grayson appeared to reference his opponents’ divorce and, in defending the accuracy of his ads, the soon-to-be-congressman said this at a debate: “If you’re going to ask anyone, ‘Are you still beating your wife?’ — that kind of question, ask him”
Long responded by calling the comments “very painful, hurtful. … You have no regard for human beings. That’s never happened.”
After Politico published its report on Tuesday, Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee withdrew their endorsements of Grayson.
PCCC and DFA withdraw their endorsments of Alan Grayson. pic.twitter.com/43KJgEdaJv
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) July 26, 2016
Even before the latest domestic violence accusations — the Graysons previously offered conflicting accounts of a violent altercation in 2014 — the congressman was a persistent, throbbing headache for Democrats, as The Fix’s Amber Phillips explained in May (back when Marco Rubio still said he wouldn’t seek another Senate term).
If you’re a Florida Democrat — or any Democrat, really — you either love Alan Grayson or you hate him. There are people who would “crawl naked over hot coals” for Grayson (his words), and there are people at the highest levels of Democratic politics who are actively and publicly trying to undercut his Senate primary campaign against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) for the seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio (R).
To wit: Grayson’s spat with Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday:
Reid immediately replied to Grayson: “It is true and I want you to lose”
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) May 11, 2016
Democrats in the room called that moment — one of their own challenging an invited guest, and the Senate minority leader no less — “embarrassing” for them and for Grayson. Grayson opponents in Florida say that moment epitomized what Grayson is all about: audacious, inconsiderate and just not willing to play by the rules.
For Democrats, the run-in with Dovere might elevate the Grayson headache to migraine levels, as the party tries to put on its best face for its quadrennial convention.
One thing is sure: The incident won’t help Grayson make any friends in the media, as he tries to survive the domestic violence controversy ahead of an Aug. 30 Senate primary.