“Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost, Booker said in a lengthy statement. “Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again.”
He joins Democratic Sens. John Fetterman, Peter Welch, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Mark Kelly, Tammy Baldwin, Jacky Rosen, Elizabeth Warren, Jon Tester, Martin Heinrich, Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Ed Markey, Maggie Hassan, Raphael Warnock, Gary Peters, and Bernie Sanders in urging Menendez to go.
“While Senator Menendez enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and will have his day in court to defend himself, I believe it’s best for his constituents, the American people, and our national security for the Senator to step down,” Baldwin said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
There are at least another dozen U.S. House members and a growing group of elected New Jersey officials who have also called for Menendez to step down.
Menendez, however, has angrily denied all of the Justice Department’s allegations and has rebuffed growing pressure to resign. He told reporters on Monday that he would be absolved, criticizing his colleagues who “rushed to judgment” before “all the facts are presented.” Despite this, Menendez adhered to the Senate Democratic caucus’ policies, which require members to stand down from leadership positions if charged with a felony, and left his role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The indictment accused Menendez of, among other things, accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using his influence as a senator “to seek to… benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.” The perks allegedly included gold bars, a no-show job, a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, and wads of cash found in his home.
The New Jersey senator’s indictment puts Democratic lawmakers in a bind as they attempt to maintain their slim majority in the Senate. Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District announced his intentions on Saturday to challenge Menendez in a Democratic primary in 2024 if Menendez decides to run for re-election.
The post A Third of Democrat Senators Say Bob Menendez Should Go appeared first on The Daily Beast.