Exclusive Rep. David Wu: I Sent the Emails, I Sought Treatment, I Can Serve Well

By Kate McCarthy

Feb 22, 2011 9:35am

In his first network interview since reports that his staff pushed him to get psychiatric help just before the November election, Oregon Congressman David Wu admitted he sent “unprofessional” emails to his staff, including a photo of himself in a tiger costume. 

“Last October was not a good month, it was very stressful. 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 told me in an exclusive interview on “GMA.”

Wu said he’s being treated now with medication and counseling after the “intervention” staged by his staffers. The Oregonian has reported that some of the staff had tried to find out if there was a psychiatric hospital ward that would admit Congressman Wu. I asked him if that were true.

“George, I don’t know what they were seeking. Now we had several meetings, we had a lot of meetings in a campaign and George, you have been there, campaigns are very, very stressful,” Wu told me.

“I saw appropriate medical help at the time and I am continuing to do that,” he said.

Wu, a father of two, admitted to sending odd emails to staffers in the middle of the night, including a photo of himself dressed up like a tiger, despite warnings that a Halloween costume could do damage  to his campaign.

“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 profession even when you are joshing around with your kids a couple of nights before Halloween. I did send those photographs, it was unprofessional, inappropriate," he said.

At least six staffers have left Wu’s office. But despite his string of odd behavior the congressman said he is fit to serve and hopes that going public will help others seek the help they need.

“I have gotten myself into a good place where I am taking care of my kids, I am taking care of my 88 year-old mother, I am taking care of myself and my constituents. And I emphatically can do the job and only time will demonstrate that to my constituents,” he said. “And hopefully the Americans listening out there will take care of themselves for both mental and physical health as a result of hearing this. I hope this is one small step in that direction.”

Watch the interview here:

George Stephanopoulos

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