In February, newspapers were calling for David Wu, 56, to resign after finding out about his bizarre behavior at the end of his 2010 campaign — which included sending pictures of himself wearing a tiger costume to his staff members. Little did we know that it would get worse for him.
At that time, many speculated that Wu had fallen off the wagon, as he had previously admitted to quitting alcohol during the previous summer. Wu denied having a substance abuse problem.
Wu defended himself, saying that he was actually suffering from a mental condition that he wasn’t disclosing for privacy reasons, but one that he said did not prevent him from doing his job. He said he would run again in 2012.
This week, Wu announced that he is resigning from Congress amid allegations of sexual assault and prescription drug abuse.
The Oregonian broke the story that Wu had an “unwanted sexual encounter” with an 18-year-old, who is the daughter of one of his donors. Wu said the encounter was consensual. The Ethics Committee is investigating the incident. It should be noted that in 1976, while a student at Stanford University, an ex-girlfriend accused Wu of trying to force her to have sex.
Wu has refused to answer questions and has said that he admits to doing nothing illegal, though he admits that he has not used good judgment. Wu said he is stepping down to take care of his family.
We don’t buy it. Given Wu’s past actions and responses, we doubt his trustworthiness. As an elected representative in this country, Wu has not only the responsibility to act in the best interests of his constituency, but also the responsibility to be transparent and honest.
Throughout the latest run of scandals that have plagued him, Wu made the same mistake that many other disgraced former political leaders have made — when caught by a rather compelling evidence, they chose to hide and deflect, instead of standing up and facing the music.
When the picture of him in a tiger costume started circulating through web, Wu played it off as if the incident had been a joke that had gone a bit sour because his staffers didn’t understand his sense of humor. Now, when confronted with serious allegations, his response is to deny all, without giving his constituents a reason to believe him.
Many Taiwanese Americans are casualties of this scandals. Many Taiwanese have supported Wu since the very beginning of his political career. Wu was one of the few politicians that spoke out strongly for Taiwan. Now, they have been sorely let down disappointed; they have lost their representative.
At the very least, Wu has resigned early enough that, hopefully, the innocent parties involved — his children and perhaps the 18-year-old — can continue to maintain their privacy and be able to move on from this incident without much further embarrassment. ♦