State

Congressmen say Jackson Jr. needs time to get healthy

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., speaks March 20 in Chicago.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., speaks March 20 in Chicago.

CHICAGO – Two Chicago congressmen reiterated their support for Jesse Jackson Jr. on Saturday, saying the former Illinois congressman is suffering greatly and needs time to get healthy before he can address the public.

U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Bobby Rush joined about 200 people for the weekly service at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago. The service included a special prayer for Jackson Jr. and his family.

The Chicago Democrat resigned from the U.S. House this week, citing his battle with bipolar disorder. He also acknowledged he is the subject of a federal probe and said he’s cooperating with investigators. Federal investigators are reportedly looking into Jackson’s possible misuse of campaign funds. He has not been charged with a crime.

Jackson did not attend the service Saturday and has barely been seen in public since taking a leave of absence in June to seek medical treatment.

After Saturday’s service, Davis and Rush said they have not seen Jackson and don’t know where he is. But they said they understand why he has not yet spoken publicly about his resignation.

“He can’t take the pressure,” Rush said.

Rush said when he and Davis visited with Jackson a few weeks ago, the 47-year-old son of a civil rights icon broke down in tears several times. They said they don’t want others to see him that way.

“He’s suffering under a tremendous, tremendous toil,” Rush said. “And chief among that toil is he says he does not want to be an embarrassment to his children, to his family, to the people of the 2nd congressional district. ... That’s what he is concerned about.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke briefly during the service and thanked supporters. He did not comment afterward.

Rush and Davis also said they were disappointed that more politicians didn’t attend Saturday’s service. Davis called them “fair-weather friends,” saying when people are running for office or have a problem they frequently turn to Rev. Jackson and Rainbow PUSH.

“My question remains now, when this family is in need, where are they?” Rush said.

Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to soon announce plans for a special election. As many as a dozen names already have been mentioned as possible candidates, and Rush said he thinks any of Jesse Jackson’s siblings would be good candidates.

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