You know what’s weird? It’s weird when a United States Congressman disappears from the face of the earth for a solid month, and nobody will tell us where he is or what happened to him.
On June 26, staffers for Jesse Jackson, Jr. put out a statement that he had been on leave for the previous two weeks because of… ahem… “exhaustion.” They gave no other information and said they didn’t know when he’d be back. Since then, the only hint we’ve gotten is that he’s undergoing treatment for unspecified “physical and emotional ailments.” Which sure does narrow it down.
What’s up with that? ABC News reports:
CHICAGO — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will likely not return to Congress until after Labor Day, a senior aide close to the congressman told ABC News.
The source also denied a rumor reported on the Chicago WLS talk radio show Roe & Roeper that the Democratic congressman’s mysterious absence was due to a suicide attempt. He claimed to have spoken to Jackson as recently as “the last few days,” and said that although he continues treatment at an inpatient facility, the congressman is not facing any life-threatening ailments.
The source, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, declined to provide any details on where Jackson is seeking treatment, but said that he is genuinely suffering from “exhaustion.”
“That’s what he has. He doesn’t get a lot of sleep and he has sleep disorders. He’s very energetic, running full-steam ahead, working six or seven days a week often and he’s been doing that for a long time,” the source said. “There’s a great deal of pressure on him due to unfounded allegations [related to the ethics inquiry] and negative press onslaught against him that are not true, so it kinda all caught up to him. He needed downtime to get away from [the] grind.”
Oh. So that’s why nobody will say where he’s gone. He is an elected official, isn’t he? Don’t his constituents deserve some answers?
Michael Moynihan notes:
With so few facts available, I can only say that if Jackson is indeed suffering from either physical or mental ailments — real problems that must be attended to by real medical professionals — it would be heartless to wish him anything but a speedy recovery. But as ABC News points out, Jackson is facing an ethics probe, and just “days before he left Congress on medical leave, a former fundraiser for Jackson, Raghuveer Nayak, was arrested by the FBI on charges of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to doctors.” Any disappearance shrouded in this much secrecy and circumlocution deserves a healthy dose of irritated skepticism.
Then again, what’s another no-show job in Chicago?
Oh, and if you’re wondering how this story would be covered if Jackson were a Republican? You already know how this story would be covered if Jackson were a Republican.