WASHINGTON – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the state’s General Assembly speaker and the Democratic State Committee chairman all called on U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to resign Friday after their fellow Democrat was indicted on federal bribery charges.
“The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply disturbing,” Murphy said about Menendez, the state’s senior senator.
“These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” said Murphy.
“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. “I am therefore calling for his immediate resign. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin stated, “The accusations laid out today against Senator Menendez go against everything that we should believe as public employees.
We have been given the trust of the public, and once this trust is broken, it’s impossible to continue,” Coughlin added, adding that Menendez has to resign in order to “allow New Jersey and America to move forward.” LeRoy Jr., chairman of the Democratic State Committee, said Menendez must resign “to ensure that New Jerseyans receive the federal representation they deserve.” “
Jones also noted the upcoming state legislative elections in November, and said Menendez’s resignation would allow the Democratic party “to keep its focus” on state level races.
Two New Jersey Democrats in Congress, U.S. Reps. Andy Kim and Mikie Sherrill, also called on Menendez to resign.
Menendez responded to his critics late Friday. Menendez responded to his critics late Friday. In a press release, he stated that he would continue to fight on behalf of the people in New Jersey using the same methods I have used for the last five decades.
This is the record of success that these leaders have always lauded. I am not surprised at how fast some people are to judge and remove a Latino from his seat. He added, “I am not leaving.”
The statement hinted at how bitter the debate over the senator’s political future is likely to become.
Menendez, 69, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted on three criminal counts, along with three New Jersey businessmen who were charged with two of the counts.
The couple is accused of having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes over at least four years, while the senator performed, in return, political favors for the three businessmen.
Prosecutors allege the favors included providing sensitive national security information to Egyptian officials.
Menendez insisted he and his wife had nothing wrong, and accused prosecutors in a statement of having “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. “
He did not address the specific charges other than to say the “facts are not as presented.”
U.S. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (a New York Democrat) said in a press release that “Bob Menendez is a dedicated public service and always fights hard for the citizens of New Jersey.” Democrats will have a difficult Senate map next year, when they are defending 23 of the 33 contested Senate seats. Democrats have a difficult Senate map next year, when they will be defending 23 of the 33 contested Senate seats.
In states that are dominated by just one political party, as New Jersey is by Democrats, Senate seats change hands far less than they do in swing states, where elections tend to be more competitive.
In New Jersey, for example, only four people have been elected to the U.S. Senate in the past 23 years, the last one being Sen. Cory Booker in 2013.
In the event that Menendez were to resign or to retire when his current term ends, the race to fill his Senate seat would likely draw a who’s who of the state’s elected Democrats. Kim and Sherrill were two of the names that had been floated on Friday. As the newly unsealed charges make clear, Menendez is accused of trying to pressurize a senior official in this Office during a previous administration, Platkin stated. My Office has fully cooperated with the Southern District of New York investigation. We will continue doing so. We have also launched our own independent investigation into the allegations contained in the indictment. “