Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been on a medical leave of absence from Congress since June 10.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters today that he believes Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) needs to explain to voters what kind of ailment he is suffering from “soon.”
“As a public official though, there reaches a point when you have a responsibility to tell people what you’re facing and how things are going. Sen. Kirk has done that, and I think Congressman Jackson will face that, too,” Durbin told reporters in Chicago, according to a transcript provided by his office.
Durbin contrasted the way Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has dealt with his recovery from a stroke with the secrecy surrounding the announcement last week that Jackson is being treated at an unnamed inpatient facility for “physical and emotional ailments” that his office said he had been suffering with “privately for a long period of time.”
Previously, Jackson’s office had announced that since June 10 he has been on a medical leave of absence from Congress to deal with “exhaustion.”
But Durbin said Jackson “will have to soon make a report on what he’s struggling with, the physical condition he’s struggling with. I thought Sen. Kirk’s video talking about his rehabilitation answered hundreds of questions that I was facing, and I think to the satisfaction of Illinois voters told them what his current situation is and what his hopes are about recovering.”
In May, Kirk released a video in which he talked about his recovery from the stroke he suffered in January.
Durbin cautioned that he had no information on Jackson’s ailment and said he didn’t want to define how soon he thought Jackson should inform the public of his situation.
“My heart goes out to Congressman Jackson and his young family,” Durbin said. “He’s clearly going through a very difficult time. I don’t have any inside information about his medical situation. If there is some medical necessity for him not saying more at this moment, then I will defer to that.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.