Over the past month or so, Florida has taken up the mantle. First there was Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.); the Senate candidate said in July that he hoped a Politico reporter would be arrested.
This weekend, former Secret Service agent and GOP congressional hopeful Dan Bongino made it a bipartisan trend, reverting to profanity-filled screams as another Politico reporter asked him about his own campaign finances. The whole thing played out in a 17-minute phone conversation Bongino apparently knew was being recorded.
Politico reported that Bongino, who ran for Congress in 2014 in Maryland and is now vying for an open seat in Southwestern Florida, agreed to chat Sunday with Politico reporter Mark Caputo after Bongino disputed a Naples Daily News story about how little money he's raised in the district. The primary for the seat will be Aug. 30.
But instead of answering the question, the conversation went something like this:
Caputo: "I know you're in Florida running a race and that you're losing in it by your attitude because you're swearing and acting out."
Bongino: "Hey, F--- you!"
Caputo: "And I also know that you looked at running in another district and you knew you couldn't win there, either."
Bongino: "F--- you."
Bongino: "Hey, listen to me. I'm going to expose you now. And when I tell everybody the real reason I'm down here, I'm going to expose your f------ a-- even more."
Caputo: "You can continue to threaten me if you'd like."
Bongino: "You're a piece of sh--. You're a lying scumbag."
Bongino: "It is people like you …"
Caputo: "You haven't even established where I lied. We've already established in the record where you've lied."
Caputo: "And now you're acting out and you're swearing."
Bongino: "You are such a piece of s---. Go f--- yourself."
Caputo: "You hung up on me!"
You can listen to the entire conversation here, although as you can see from this portion we transcribed, much of it is not safe for work or small children. Bongino's campaign hasn't commented on the conversation, but on social media, the candidate himself has struck a defiant stance.
Bongino is still claiming that the Naples Daily News incorrectly reviewed his FEC report released Saturday on how much money he's raised, although he has yet to give specifics on what exactly was wrong.
And Bongino blamed his decision to repeatedly yell the f-word at a reporter on "media bias."
This, of course, is a common explanation from the man Bongino wants to be president, Donald Trump, anytime Trump says something controversial.
In fact, Bongino got into a spat with CNN's Don Lemon this month when Bongino defended Trump's comment about "Second Amendment people" being the only ones who could stop Clinton's judicial appointments.
"What you’re saying right now makes no sense! I’m sitting at home, I’m watching Donald Trump. I have two ears and I have two eyes and I can see the reactions …" he said. "We’re not stupid! … You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Lemon then said Bongino was "lying," to which Bongino replied: "You don’t know crap about this, Don! You’re a TV guy! I was a Secret Service agent! Now cut off my mic! Do what you wanna do!"
Like we said, politician meltdowns are not necessarily new. There are 535 members of Congress, after all, and countless others hoping to be a member of Congress. Something's bound to go wrong with at least one of them.
But some meltdowns are more spectacular than others. And unfortunately for those politicians, these days, the chances are high that someone will be there to record it.