Oddly behaving congressmen told by staff to get help days before election

Nobody can say if Congressman David Wu (D-OR) is mentally ill. Only a competent psychiatrist can make that call after a battery of tests have been administered.

But senior members of the congressman's staff were concerned enough about his weird behavior to confront him just prior to the election and ask him to seek help.

The Oregonian:

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu's most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment.Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat's increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and -- more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching -- around potential voters and donors.

Most of all, they were worried for Wu, a 55-year-old single father of two children.

Earlier and gentler efforts had failed, so the tight-knit group of high-level staff took other steps, including quiet inquiries about the availability of beds in hospitals in Portland and Washington, D.C., multiple sources familiar with the effort told The Oregonian.

Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu's psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.

The day after Wu won election to a 7th term, almost his entire staff resigned.

The facts reported in the Oregonian article makes clear that Wu, the man, should elicit sympathy for failing to acknowledge the very serious mental health issues confronting him. His staff took as much as they could before abandoning him. Should they have left just prior to the election if they felt that strongly about Wu's mental health? Such would have been a betrayal - a real Judas moment - and professionals from either party would never have done it.

Should the voters of his district been made aware of Wu's problems? By this time, his erratic behavior was obvious to anyone paying a reasonable amount of attention to the race.  If anyone is to blame for not highlighting Wu's behavior and demanding an explanation, it is media like the liberal Oregonian and other Democratic friendly newspapers and TV stations. Apparently, they desired a victory by a Democrat over a tough opponent more than they cared about a potentially unstable congressmen representing their readers and viewers. 

Wu issued a statement yesterday on the controversy:

Late Friday his office sent a prepared statement. In it he said that he was "not always at my best with staff or constituents" and that he sought "professional medical care."

"Some of my stress was derived from a very tough campaign, but I was also dealing with raising two children alone and the death of my father," he wrote.

"I fully acknowledge that I could have dealt with these difficult circumstances better, and I remain focused on being a good father to my children and a strong representative for the people of Oregon," the statement said.

Perhaps an intervention by the Democratic leadership in this matter is warranted. But if he's not going to listen to those closest to him, it is doubtful he will take heed of the advice coming from his party.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky
Nobody can say if Congressman David Wu (D-OR) is mentally ill. Only a competent psychiatrist can make that call after a battery of tests have been administered.

But senior members of the congressman's staff were concerned enough about his weird behavior to confront him just prior to the election and ask him to seek help.

The Oregonian:

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu's most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat's increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and -- more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching -- around potential voters and donors.

Most of all, they were worried for Wu, a 55-year-old single father of two children.

Earlier and gentler efforts had failed, so the tight-knit group of high-level staff took other steps, including quiet inquiries about the availability of beds in hospitals in Portland and Washington, D.C., multiple sources familiar with the effort told The Oregonian.

Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu's psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.

The day after Wu won election to a 7th term, almost his entire staff resigned.

The facts reported in the Oregonian article makes clear that Wu, the man, should elicit sympathy for failing to acknowledge the very serious mental health issues confronting him. His staff took as much as they could before abandoning him. Should they have left just prior to the election if they felt that strongly about Wu's mental health? Such would have been a betrayal - a real Judas moment - and professionals from either party would never have done it.

Should the voters of his district been made aware of Wu's problems? By this time, his erratic behavior was obvious to anyone paying a reasonable amount of attention to the race.  If anyone is to blame for not highlighting Wu's behavior and demanding an explanation, it is media like the liberal Oregonian and other Democratic friendly newspapers and TV stations. Apparently, they desired a victory by a Democrat over a tough opponent more than they cared about a potentially unstable congressmen representing their readers and viewers. 

Wu issued a statement yesterday on the controversy:

Late Friday his office sent a prepared statement. In it he said that he was "not always at my best with staff or constituents" and that he sought "professional medical care."

"Some of my stress was derived from a very tough campaign, but I was also dealing with raising two children alone and the death of my father," he wrote.

"I fully acknowledge that I could have dealt with these difficult circumstances better, and I remain focused on being a good father to my children and a strong representative for the people of Oregon," the statement said.

Perhaps an intervention by the Democratic leadership in this matter is warranted. But if he's not going to listen to those closest to him, it is doubtful he will take heed of the advice coming from his party.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

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