Rep. David Wu acknowledged on Tuesday that he behaved in an “unprofessional” manner toward his official and campaign staff in the lead-up to the November elections last year.
The Oregon Democrat, in an interview with “Good Morning America,” noted that he has lost six campaign staffers amid concerns that he behaved erratically last fall in the final stretch of what was a competitive re-election race and that he was mentally unstable. Wu admitted to e-mailing staff odd pictures of himself including one in which he is wearing a tiger costume and noted that he is receiving professional help.
“Last October was not a good month. It was very stressful,” Wu said Monday. “I did some things, I said some things which I sincerely regret now. And as a result of those things, I saw fit to consult professional help. I got the help I needed then. I am continuing to consult medical help as I need it, and I’m in a good place now.”
Wu noted during the interview that he is serving as his own campaign treasurer now because his staffer tasked with that job left, but he maintained that he is staffing up to fill the handful of vacancies. He said his odd behavior was caused by “a couple of stressful years” and noted that he is raising his two children and caring for his 88-year-old mother by himself. He said he did not want to seek professional help in October when several of his campaign staffers confronted him because he was focused on winning a seventh term in office.
“I think that mental health is a very, very important issue and people ought to be ready and willing to seek it when they need it,” Wu said during Monday’s interview, his first since the Oregonian reported that the Democrat lost six staffers because of his unusual behavior.
“I think a take-home lesson from this is while they were very, very unprofessional, you shouldn’t ever send photographs of yourself in a Halloween costume, something you intend to wear to a private party a couple of nights later. It’s just not professional even when you are joshing around with your kids a couple of nights before Halloween,” Wu added. “I did send those photographs. It was unprofessional, inappropriate.”
The Oregonian reported in January that six of Wu’s staffers resigned after Election Day. In a follow-up story that was posted Friday, the Oregonian reported that those staffers staged an intervention with Wu on Oct. 30, just days before the Nov. 2 elections. Wu’s psychiatrist was present at that meeting, but the Congressman brushed off the outreach, and his campaign virtually suspended all activity in those waning days before the election, according to the Oregonian report.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.