When it comes to political scandals, how do you top sending your staff a photo of yourself, a mid-50s, seven term congressman, clad in a zip-up tiger costume? Why, have sex with your friend’s high school-aged daughter, of course!
That’s the route Democratic Rep. David Wu took, at least, and it looks like it might not have been the best campaign move.
Following allegations of some “aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior” he conducted with the daughter of one of his long-time friends and donors, Wu is reportedly deciding it might be in his best interest not to run for an eighth term next year.
In February, Wu, then 55 years old, forwarded a photo of himself in a terrific little tiger suit to his employees. That came a few years after he warned the House that Klingons might be in the White House and had to make public that he was undergoing treatment for mental health issues.
Now with a sex scandal unfolding, the press has the tiger by the tail.
It was first reported on Friday that a recent high school senior and daughter of one of Wu’s friends engaged in an unwanted sexual relationship during Thanksgiving weekend. Wu has told his staff that whatever did happen was consensual, however, and the girl was of-age at the time.
Two days later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has responded saying that she is disappointed and saddened by the latest caper carried out by Wu and intends on launching an investigation. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has now upgraded Wu’s condition, which many dubbed “erratic” after the tiger incident, to "extremely serious and disturbing."
Following Pelosi’s statement, an adviser for Wu speaking on the condition of anonymity tells POLITICO that Wu won’t be running for reelection. “But he hasn’t done anything that rises to the level of requiring him to resign,” the source adds.
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian held a press conference on Saturday and said, "I think any 56-year-old man, especially a 56-year-old Congressman that asserts himself like this on an 18-year-old girl, has got no business serving in Congress.”
Former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury echoed Avakians sentiments, telling the AP, "Obviously I think the right decision would be to resign.”
A CBS affiliate reports Monday that Wu’s only official statement thus far reads that "This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention, or stress to a young woman and her family.”