Oregon Representative David Wu, who has been embroiled in controversy over bizarre leaked e-mails sent to staff that included a photo of him wearing a tiger suit, said today he has no plans to resign from his seat in Congress.
State Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley and two newspapers have called on Wu to resign, while seven of the congressman's staffers, including his chief of staff, have resigned.
"There aren't any circumstances that I can imagine where I'm going to resign. The people of Oregon have selected me to do a job and I'm going to do it," Wu told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland today.
In the interview, Wu acknowledged that some of his behavior was erratic and odd during his re-election campaign, and confirmed as he did on "Good Morning America" earlier this week that he did send the tiger costume photos.
He said he is undergoing mental health treatment and is taking medication.
"I want to make it a little bit easier for those who want help or need help to appropriately get it and to not be ashamed of it and to be able to talk about it," Wu told KATU-TV's Susan Harding when she asked why he spoke on the matter to "GMA."
Wu said today that the low point with his personal issues came with the death of his father in October, at the height of the seven-term congressman's re-election campaign.
"I'm in a good place now and I'm able to take care of my family well, I'm taking care of myself well and I'm working very hard on taking care of my constituents well also," he said.
The congressman also acknowledged the departure of his staff, citing a high turnover rate as the reason for their departure.
"There's a lot of turnover in the U.S. Congress. Historically, I have had very, very low turnover. And some of it is perhaps I'm regressing to the congressional average. I lost six out of 20 staffers. I always regret it when I do lose staffers -- we have excellent staff," Wu said.
Two Portland newspapers, The Oregonian and Willamette Week, both reported Friday that several members of Wu's staff said the 55-year-old was increasingly unpredictable on the campaign trial and in private last fall, and had several angry and loud outbursts.
The newspapers reported that campaign staffers were appalled by a series of e-mails sent from Wu's federally issued BlackBerry that included the photo of him in the tiger costume. But more disturbing, staffers said, were e-mails written in the voice of his adolescent children.
Wu said the photos were taken while he was "joshing around" with his children late at night in October just before Halloween, after they had flown in from Washington, D.C. In the interview with KATU he apologized again for sending them, saying it was inappropriate.
Earlier this week, Wu told The Oregonian that he took prescription painkiller from a campaign donor back in October, which led to his erratic behavior.
In an October speech to a friendly audience at a meeting of Washington County, Ore., Democrats, Wu lashed out at his opponent and the media. He also talked his way past a security checkpoint to campaign for votes at the airport around that time, according to reports.
Wu, a Yale Law School graduate born in Taiwan, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. He's maintained a low profile in Congress, except for his occasional appearances in unflattering news stories.
Just weeks before the 2004 election, Wu apologized for "inexcusable behavior" after reports surfaced that a former girlfriend once claimed that he tried to sexually assault her while both were students at Stanford University in the 1970s. No charges were filed in the case, but Wu's opponent seized on the allegation to argue he was unfit for office.
Three years later, Wu's remarks on the House floor that "there are Klingons in the White House" were roundly mocked.
Seven of his staff members have left since he won re-election in November: his chief of staff, spokeswoman, three field representatives in Oregon, and two others in Washington, D.C.
In addition, he lost his campaign pollster and campaign fundraiser. His campaign treasurer resigned last week, and Wu named himself treasurer.