SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — It was a caught-on-camera tirade that launched Central New York into the national spotlight. First-term Congressman Republican Brandon Williams, was seen online over two million times attacking the man that many people credit for getting him elected in the first place. In the video he’s heard threatening someone, “you [bleep] with my family, I’ll end every relationship that you have, every single friend, do you understand me? Do you understand me? You think I don’t know?”
The man being confronted, Michael Gordon, was Williams’ former campaign manager. He was shocked by the episode and said he thought the Congressman was “going to swing on him.” Williams does end up swinging at the camera, with the 24-second video clip ending when the cell phone camera falls to the ground.
News outlets across his district played the clip regularly in newscasts, as the Congressman’s team attempted a cleanup.
CNYCentral’s Conor Wight reported that the congressman’s office stands by his actions , explaining it was all because the two former staffers involved had allegedly made disgusting comments about the Congressman’s family.
But those staffers deny those allegations. Student reporter Luke Radel was the first journalist to receive the explosive video about an hour after it was taken at a holiday charity function in Washington, DC. He got the clip from Ryan Sweeney, who served as Williams’ legislative director before leaving in July . The Syracuse Post-Standard said Williams notched a dubious achievement, experiencing the third-highest staff-turnover rate of any office in Congress.
The outburst led to swift condemnation from most of his Democratic opponents, except for one – a longshot contender named Jacob Addington who gave Williams the benefit of the doubt, saying, “I’m sure if you followed me around with a camera all day, you’d see some juicy stuff, too.”
But Williams’ former Republican colleague, George Santos wasn’t so forgiving. He told Radel he wasn’t surprised when he saw the video. ”
“I have many experiences with him with angry rants like that,” said Santos, “especially when he attacked two of my staffers last year.”
Santos was ousted from the House for lying and alleged campaign finance violations just hours after his interview with Radel, but he said Williams should be the one kicked out for his lack of decorum. Williams says he’s not going anywhere and he stands by his message not to mess with his family.