12:15 pm Feb. 20, 2012
After opening the Republican Party's new headquarters on Staten Island Saturday afternoon, Representative Michael Grimm told reporters he'll be back out speaking on behalf of Mitt Romney sometime soon.
"Yes, yes I will," he said.
After publishing two stories alleging improprities in Grimm's campaign fund-raising and his business dealings, the New York Times reported last week that the Romney campaign had distanced itself from Grimm, who had previously traveled to New Hampshire and Florida to stump for the former Massachusetts governor. Grimm was removed from Romney's New York delegate list.
Grimm said the Times misunderstood the meaning of his removal from the list.
"Let's be clear about that Romney thing," Grimm said. "It was a false story, period. The Romney camp never even contacted me. Not once. Me going off the ballot—what the reporter purposefully didn't put in—is that Congresswoman Nan Hayworth was also removed because we don't need to be delegates, we get full passes to the convention. So that was decided a week and a half or two weeks before the first New York Times article even hit."
The Times story also quoted an email from Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul saying Grimm was not an "official surrogate." Grimm said he had always been a "voluntary surrogate."
"When they called and asked am I on the official surrogate list? No, I never was," he said. "I'm a voluntary surrogate. Because as a member of Congress, as active as I am here in Staten Island, I can't commit to a very tough schedule on the road. I do what I can, when I can, as I can volunteer.
"And I was never on their official surrogate list. So it was a bogus article. It was bogus from day one and the people are going to see that. The chairman of [Romney's campaign in] New York State is Guy [Molinari]. You think Guy would have bumped me? It wouldn't have happened. And if the Romney camp told him to, he would have quit. He would have stepped down. So there was never a story here. It was very bad reporting. It just wasn't truthful."
The Romney campaign has had a number of issues involving surrogates in the last few days. In addition to Grimm's troubles, an Arizona sheriff who co-chaired Romney's state campaign recently stepped down after allegations that he threatened to deport his former boyfriend unless he kept their relationship a secret. And Romney's opponent, Rick Santorum, got some positive attention when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine abandoned his endorsement of Romney in favor of Santorum.
Asked whether he would make any changes to his own campaign, in the wake of the allegations about his fund-raising, Grimm said he would not.
"Not even one," he said. "We're not changing anything. When you're doing the right thing, people notice it. And if you just do the right thing, you'll always be re-elected. If you're not doing the right thing, you won't be."