After being indicted on bribery charges alongside his wife, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) finds himself facing growing pressure to step down from his post following his indictment on bribery charges. The indictment, handed down by federal prosecutors on Friday, has sparked a chorus of calls for Menendez’s resignation from an increasing number of lawmakers and officials, crossing party lines.
One prominent voice demanding Menendez’s resignation is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who emphasized the seriousness of the indictment’s details on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this Sunday.
“It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat. The details in this indictment are extremely serious. They involve the nature of, of not just his but all of our seats in Congress,” she stated.
Responding to Menendez’s assertion that his indictment was linked to his ethnicity, Ocasio-Cortez firmly stated, “I think what is here in this indictment is quite clear.”
“And- and I believe is in the best interest to maintain the integrity of the seat. I want to emphasize that all people are- they must be extended the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. That is the legal reality in our country. But when it comes to the political and the standard of dignity that we want to maintain for the public in the United States Congress, I do believe it is in- in the best interests,” she added.
Among the chorus of voices calling for Menendez’s resignation is New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. In a Friday statement, Murphy did acknowledge the principle of the presumption of innocence but argued that the “alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state.”
The belief that the allegations are too weighty to ignore is also held by Sen. John Fetterman (D-PN), who took to X to lend his voice to the calls for Menendez’s resignation.
“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations,” the tweet read in part.
Senator Menendez should resign.
He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.
I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 23, 2023
Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) has thrown his hat into the ring, announcing his intention to challenge Menendez in the 2024 election. Kim, who admitted that this decision was unexpected, asserted that the state “deserves better” than Menendez.
Former President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the controversy, going as far as demanding the resignation of Senate Democrats in the wake of Menendez’s corruption charges. “They all knew what was going on, and the way he lived. Why doesn’t the FBI raid Senate Democrat’s homes like they illegally raided Mar-a-Lago, where nothing was done wrong based on the Presidential Records Act,” he wrote on Truth Social.
The indictment that has triggered this political firestorm accuses Senator Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, of engaging in a “corrupt relationship” allegedly aimed at benefiting the Egyptian government. It further alleges that Menendez accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes in exchange for favors from the businessmen.”
Despite mounting pressure, Menendez remains steadfast in his refusal to resign, adamantly maintaining that no impropriety occurred on his part.
“I am not going anywhere,” he said in a statement.