Jesse Jackson Jr.’s representatives have made vague comments about the Congressman’s condition since he disappeared a month ago but several sources who say they are close to the family claim Jackson is battling alcoholism.
A source who identified as a family friend told the local NBC News affiliate in Chicago that the congressman’s problems run much deeper. The anonymous source says Jackson “has severe clinical depression, a drinking problem or a problem with alcohol with treatment at a facility in Arizona.”
Following the NBC News report, Jackson Jr. spokesman Rick Bryant said the information was not 100% correct.
His office issued a statement that provided a few more details:
“The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder,” reads a statement attributed to Jackson’s doctor. “He is responding positively to treatment…”
Both the Governor of Illinois and House Leader Nancy Pelosi have expressed support for Jackson.
“The people of Illinois have good hearts and when someone is dealing with challenges on their health we wish them well and we pray for them,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said at a press conference.
But Ill. Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez are among those pushing Jackson for more information, calling it his responsibility as a public official.
“As a public official … there reaches a point when you have a responsibility to tell people what you’re facing and how things are going,” Sen. Dick Durbin, the senior Democrat in Illinois, also told reporters yesterday.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. told NPR “the people of Illinois deserve it. If he’s going to stand for re-election, you guys [reporters] are going to demand it.”
Jesse Jackson Sr. meanwhile is standing up for his son.
“He needs and deserves privacy,” Jackson said on his way to an unrelated breakfast meeting at the Chicago Hilton Thursday, “and the media and all the interests should give us, the family, space for his restoration. That is not too much to ask.”
“As a father, I offer no medical diagnosis, only the unconditional love of his family,” he said.
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