In an interview with Semafor, Rep. Brandon Williams, R-N.Y. and his wife defended his conduct after CitrusTV News, a Syracuse student outlet, published a video of him threatening a former staffer with obscenities at a holiday event at the Spy Museum Thursday night.
“You fuck with my family, I’ll end every relationship that you have!” Williams says in the 24-second recording to a stone-faced man, who insists he has not “done anything.”
Williams confirmed that he initiated the confrontation with two former aides, one of whom was filming the episode, on Thursday evening.
According to Williams, the comments were made in response to unspecified “incredibly vile things” that had been said about his wife and daughter earlier. ”There are some things that have been said and I went up and said that’s not okay,” he told Semafor. He added that one of the two staffers “put his hands on me, and put his chest against me” in response, at which point the Congressman walked away.
Stephanie Williams, the wife of the Congressman, said she felt “violated” by the ordeal and that one of the two people in question had previously lived in their home for more than five months.
“I fed him, we welcomed him in our home, we worshiped with him,” she said. “I mean, I am overwhelmed with grief.”
The two said they did not plan to pursue any legal action related to the matter.
The former aide seen in the video, who asked that their name be withheld to avoid drawing their current employer into the story, denied the claims to Semafor and said the Congressman had approached and confronted him and another former staffer over rumors he was unfamiliar with. “I haven’t said anything about his family,” he said. They added he had thrown one of their phones, which appears to happen at the end of the video.
A spokesman for Williams, Taylor Weyeneth, tweeted that the video featured two ex-staffers who had “made rude comments about the female members of the Congressman’s family” while one of them “physically shoved” the Congressman. Weyeneth also made reference to unspecified “planted stories with the media.”
“As a former nuclear submarine officer known for his temperament and poise, tonight should be a lesson to all, never go after this Navy Nuke’s family,” Weyeneth added.