There comes a time when any credible politician has to come clean and stop wild rumors, and then lay the facts out for those who he represents.
That time has certainly arrived for Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. It should be noted that Democratic sources say Jackson, who has not been on Capitol Hill since June 10, may not return to the House until after the August congressional recess.
While there is clearly room for privacy when it comes to medical matters for elected officials, there is also a need for accountability by those who have taken an oath to serve the public. What has taken place with Jackson over the past weeks is a PR nightmare.
Surely among his office staff there is someone with enough experience to handle this episode with the media in a competent manner. If they need a road map on how to do this they need look no further than how Illinois Senator Mark Kirk handled his stroke.
Nothing good can be gained for Jackson by allowing rumors to swirl. In addition, his constituents should be treated like adults. They can handle the truth.
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., in an interview with POLITICO, pushed back on an unconfirmed report that his 47-year-old son attempted suicide.
The elder Jackson was responding to a “rumor” broadcast by an Illinois radio station Tuesday. WLS of Chicago cited “two high-ranking people on the Democratic side of the aisle, in both fundraising and in the legislative branch,” as the source of this information, none of which had been confirmed with Jackson’s office or family.
“No, that’s not true,” Jackson Sr. told POLITICO. “He’s with his doctor and getting treatment, regaining his strength. That’s all I really want to say at this point.”
Jackson Sr. added that there is “no truth” to the WLS broadcast. “None at all,” he said.
An aide to the congressman also said the WLS report is inaccurate.