After revealing last month that he had sought treatment for mental health issues and that his medication could possibly be contributing to recent behavior some have labeled strange, Rep. David Wu (D-OR) told TPM on Thursday that he’s been humbled by a bipartisan outpouring of support on the Hill.
“It’s a heartwarming thing,” a smiling Wu said. “The people who come up to say supportive things are almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.”
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters last week that discussion of Wu’s resignation was “premature” and that Wu had his support in his efforts to get healthy. “I understand that he has said he is seeking mental health services and that’s the appropriate step for him to take. If he had a broken arm, he’d get it fixed,” Hoyer said.
Wu said he has since thanked Hoyer personally for his kind words. Asked whether he believes he’s put his problems behind him and was in good standing with Democratic leadership, Wu said he would be making an effort to meet with his colleagues in the coming days to assuage any concerns.
“What I’ve said to each of the leaders is that on a non-urgent basis I’d like to check in with them out of respect for the offices that they hold at a time that’s convenient to them,” he said. “I’d like to sit down with them privately and give them every reassurance.”
Acknowledging that lawmakers may be wary to associate themselves with him, Wu singled out Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) for praise for publicly supporting him in difficult times.
“He’s in his second term in a tough district, but he said some really kind things on television at home,” Wu said. “I’ll always remember that.”
Wu told the AP last week that he had suffered from mental health problems in recent years, capping a month in which pictures of him dressed in a tiger costume that he had sent to his staffers emerged in the press. Six staffers left their jobs after his most recent re-election.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.