Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel allegedly grabbed a reporter by the arm in order to communicate “a threat of physical violence” in the course of an interview that went south during the presidential campaign.
“I’ve never experience anything like this in my career from an American public official,” Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings, author of Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Barack Obama’s Final Campaign, said on Current TV. “He grabbed me by the arm and wouldn’t let go while his bodyguards approached me. And clearly trying to intimidate me with a threat of physical violence. It was abusive.” Hastings provided Current with audio of the conversation.
The interview seems to have gotten out of hand when Emanuel grew angry at Hastings for saying “we’ll see” if Obama was worth reelecting — at least, that’s where the tape Current played begins.
“What’d you say to me?” Emanuel asked. But the conversation immediately turned to an issue of whether Emanuel had insulted Hastings and of ground rules for the interview, with Emanuel seeming to oppose being videotaped for the interview.
“I’m not going to let you do to me what you did to Stanley McChrystal,” Emanuel said in an allusion to the Rolling Stones profile of McChrystal that Hastings wrote which led to the general’s resignation over disparaging comments made about President Obama.
“I didn’t do anything to Stanley McChrystal,” Hastings replied. “You guys shouldn’t have escalated in Afghanistan. Four Americans died this week there, buddy.”
Hastings said he considered filing assault charges against Emanuel, but the altercation took place in “his city” and legal action would have distracted from Hastings’ other work.
“It’s a very revealing moment of Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” Hastings said on Current. “He’s obviously a high profile public official. He’s notorious for this kind of abusive, bullying behavior and he get’s away with it, again, again, and again.”