Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez Faces Avalanche of Calls to Resign from Democrat Colleagues

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez flanked by supporters is pictured during a full room press co
Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News via Getty Images

A plethora of Democrat lawmakers are urging embattled Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to step down following his indictment, even though he has indicated he has no intention of doing so. 

According to reports, at least 14 Democrat senators have urged Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to resign after he was indicted Friday for allegedly accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” from New Jersey businessmen. In exchange, he is accused of wielding his “power and influence” as a senator not only to “protect and enrich” the men but to “benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.” 

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was the first senator to urge Menendez to step aside on Saturday. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Fetterman said the embattled senator is “entitled to the presumption of innocence under our system, but he is not entitled to continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.”

Fetterman spokesman John Cavello also stated to the Messenger that Fetterman is working on returning his campaign donation of $5,000 that he received from Menendez, quipping it would be “in envelopes stuffed with $100 bills.” Notably, federal agents recovered $480,000 in cash at Menendez’s home last summer, with some of it found in envelopes. Some envelopes were found in jackets embroidered with “Senator Menendez” or “Robert Menendez.”

Menendez on Monday claimed, “I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account” over three decades that he “kept for emergencies.”

“Now, this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years,” he added. 

Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ), Menendez’s home state colleague, is another notable senator to call for the senior senator’s resignation. He is in concert with New Jersey’s top statewide elected official, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ), who called for Menendez’s resignation on Friday. 

Along with Fetterman and Booker, Sens. John Tester (D-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Peter Welch (D-VT) have called for Menendez’s resignation, Axios noted Tuesday. CNBC reported that Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) are also among the ranks of Senate Democrats calling for his resignation. 

While Fetterman said he would return Menendez’s campaign contribution, Tester and Casey will donate 10,000 contributions they received from Menendez, as the Hill noted. However, that does not account for the total donations they have received from Menendez, per the outlet: 

Federal campaign finance records show that Montanans for Tester accepted a total of $30,000 from Menendez over several election cycles. Bob Casey for Senate Inc. has taken a total of $20,000 over the years while the Bob Casey for Pennsylvania Committee has accepted $6,500 from Menendez in the past.

The two are among the most vulnerable Democrat incumbents in U.S. Senate races in 2024.

Prominent House Democrats, led by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have joined their Democrat counterparts in the upper chamber. Pelosi appeared on MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki on Monday night and said it would “probably be a good idea if he did resign.”

Watch video here:

“At least five House Democratic members from New Jersey have called on Menendez to resign,” CNBC noted.

At his press conference Monday, Menendez gave no indication he is considering stepping aside and emphasized he is “focused on continuing” to represent New Jersey in the Senate. 

“Some of the people calling for my resignation for political reasons say I have lost the trust of the people in New Jersey. That couldn’t be more wrong,” Menendez asserted at the press conference. 

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