Friday, November 02, 2007

Wisecup checks himself into hospital after outburst in Rochester

Knollenberg's chief of staff takes time off after heated words with anti-war activist.

Deb Price / The Detroit News


U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg's chief of staff, who was recently caught on video in a heated exchange with an anti-war activist, said Thursday he is on paid medical leave to deal with a mood-swing disorder.

In an an e-mail to reporters, aide Trent Wisecup said he recently checked himself into Beaumont Hospital in Oakland after sending out "weird and flat out kooky" e-mails.

He added that on Oct. 13 he got "fired up" in what became a tense verbal skirmish with a camera-wielding activist challenging Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills, over the Iraq war and children's health care.

A video of the incident at a Rochester drugstore, titled "Trent Wisecup goes crazy in Rochester," is up on, where it has been viewed more than 35,600 times.

Wisecup said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which can be treated with medication. Knollenberg spokesman Steve Betz said Wisecup will return to his nearly $160,000-a-year job as chief of staff.


Chet said...

Bruce, I am at a loss that you would spin even this.

Kelly Logan said...

Well put Bruce. If Wisecup has some problem controlling his emotional outbursts, then Knollenberg owes us all an apology for putting that kind of person in a high-pressure public position. What if Wisecup was negoiating with a group of executives over bringing jobs into the state and had a similar 'episode'?

What is Knollenberg's history on mental health care? If Wisecup wasn't making a hundred and sixty thousand dollars a year, would he be able to get treatment for his 'condition' through a public program?

Chet said...

Now that I've read the DN article and realize they have the full story, I must strongly condemn your actions here in trying to politicize Wisecup's medical condition.

It's a matter of public record - right here on this site in fact, and before the outburst so it would have been hard to "stage" as you suggest - that Wisecup has MS, as he noted with his typing difficulty. That's a progressive disease, that also messes with the mind.

Look at the video. If Wisecup told the DN he's been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, would not explain the video to a T. Have you known anyone with bi-polar disorder? I have. You can't fake it, and for you to suggest such is repugnant.

You ratcheted up the pressure for years on the Knollenberg team. Most of them handled you with a smile, you were given an opportunity to get your views across, and the Congressman is aware of them. You're entitled to your protest and monotonous repetition of questions and tactics, and sometimes even funny head of Joe Knollenberg. But ultimately, the fruit of your labor was 30,000 people and Olberman got to see you push a guy over the edge.

Your such a big man, Bruce. Great work.

One good thing that's come of it - you helped the guy identify a problem and get treatment. I wish him well. Now maybe you should check in and see what the DSM-III says will work for you.

Chet said...

Double-responses there.

Kelly, how could Knollenberg have known of an undiagnosed condition.

And to use this as a rational to justify a health care policy point is sick.

Chet said...

Note, for clarity above, I didn't mean to suggest that MS itself is a mental disorder, but that having a progressive disease itself is a high-pressure thing that could contribute to other issues.

Bruce Fealk said...

Chet, I have a recording of a local Republican that says that Trent has been acting this way for a long time. This wasn't a one time outburst. This may have been the incident where Trent finally realized himself he had a problem, but that means he's had this condition for a while. It's like an alcoholic finally hitting bottom and getting treatment.

If he had a progressive disease that affects his judgment, then he shouldn't have been in a position that affects policy decisions of his boss.

Chet said...

Bruce, quit alluding to unpublished recordings of "local Republicans" (if indeed it is unpublished). Being tough and an "outburst" are different things -- if you have evidence of other outbursts, and particularly outbursts that the Congressman would have been aware of (alot of that stuff gets filtered), then produce it.

And know this - whatever you produce probably won't prove your point, might subject you to false light invasion of privacy claims, and proves that your attack won't end.

That Knollenberg won't throw a guy under the bus who has a condition after he's learned of it just proves that Joe is a decent guy. I've seen Wisecup in action maybe a dozen times -- I've heard the "inside scuttlebut" from people who love Trent and people who hate Trent, but until the outburst with you, I'd never seen anything behaviorally that I could diagnose (I'm not a doctor). I doubt Joe or anyone could see that type of thing AHEAD of time, even if a sign of abrasiveness or toughness was there. If it was so easy, why didn't you diagnose it 6 months ago? I mean, pull out your handy DSM-III manual and predict it.

AND READ MY COMMENT ABOVE - the MS doesn't necessarily affect judgment, but its another stressor. A side note, Joe obviously doesn't discriminate against disability as you would have him do - I've known many brilliant people with MS (indeed, I suspect there is a correlation) and there would be no reason not to hire someone for this job based on that alone (unless you just don't believe in the ADA, Bruce).

And your argument that Trent would make this up is god-awful. First, its repugnant, second, its a bad argument. Admitting to bi-polar disorder to the media in this job field? That's gotta be catastrophic for his future hiring prospects, or at least a tough one to explain.

You should be a fiction writer. Wait, you are.

Bruce Fealk said...

I have no problem Joe hiring somenoe that has MS. Good for Joe. But if his judgment is affected and he had undiagnosed bi-polar disease, there had to have been signs of the bi-polar disease. There has to have been signs that Trent had a problem, just like an alcoholic gets drunk on a regular basis.

And if there were signs, it would seem important to me, since Trent is a high level advisor to Joe, that someone on Joe's staff would confront Trent about his behavior.

It is pretty funny that you call me a fiction writer after how you've taken everything I say and spin it in to something else, even my silence gets twisted into whatever you say it means.

I'm not saying Trent made it up, but anything is possible in this crazy world of politics. Based on the fact that Trent sent out the e-mail to a select group of reporters late at night, I would tend to believe what he's said about his admission that he has bi-polar disease.

Chet said...

Bruce, you are omniscient.

The rest of us aren't.

Sorry. I guess you win this argument because you are the all-knowing giant head of Joe Knollenberg.

PS - I haven't spun a word of what you've said or not said. It's all here, on the record. You made the bad arguments - I pointed them out.