The XX Factor

How Rep. David Wu Is Just Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

News broke on Friday that Oregon Rep. David Wu had been accused of an “aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter” with a young woman, who is identified by the Oregonian as the daughter of a longtime campaign donor and friend of the (soon-to-be former) congressman. With all of the other news on Friday and over the weekend—the horrific deaths in Oslo, the debt ceiling debacle, and the untimely passing of Amy Winehouse—this news didn’t get much play. Today Wu released a statement, saying he will resign once the debt talks are resolved. (Weigel has the full statement here.)

The story is getting much more pick-up now that he’s resigned, and the details are truly unsavory.The Oregonian refers to a voicemail that the young woman left, in which she outlined the details of Wu’s assault.

Two people with knowledge of the recording and the later conversation with Wu said the alleged incident took place over Thanksgiving weekend. Sources said they were told that the woman went outside and Wu left after her. The sexual encounter followed, they said.

Two sources said the woman believed there was not enough evidence to press charges. There were no witnesses, and it would be her word against a seven-term member of the U.S. Congress.

What’s more, when Wu was a student at Stanford, he was discplined for a different forced sexual encounter. This information came to light in 2004 (also through the Oregonian’s reporting). Wu’s scenario sounds quite similar to what had happened just south of Oregon the year before: the Los Angeles Times published a meaty story about the women that gubernatorial-hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger had allegedly sexually assaulted on movie sets. The outcome then was the same for Schwarzenegger as it was for Wu: They were both elected. Wu’s brazenness—allegedly assaulting the daughter of a friend!—mirror’s Schwarzenegger’s gall in having an affair with a domestic employee who even vacationed with his family.

I really don’t know what else to say about this pair. At this point I’m not even surprised when these sorts of charges emerge—just endlessly weary.