Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators Bob Casey Jr. and John Fetterman have both called on New Jersey’s Sen. Bob Menendez to resign from office.
Fetterman was the first to call for Menendez to go following his indictment last week.
Menendez and his wife Nadine were indicted last week in a federal court in New York on three charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. In return, Menendez allegedly used his position as a U.S. senator to help the businessmen by providing sensitive U.S. government information taking actions to aid the Egyptian government.
Public service is a sacred trust. The specific allegations set forth in the federal indictment indicate to me that Senator Menendez violated that trust repeatedly.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) September 26, 2023
The Casey campaign will donate the $10,000 they accepted from Menendez’s political action committee. 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.
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
Fetterman’s campaign has stated that it is in the process of returning the $5,000 in donations he received from Menendez last year “in envelopes stuffed with $100 bills,” his spokesperson Joe Calvello said in a statement.
Casey and Fetterman join 16 other senators in calling for the 69-year-old to step down as of 2 p.m. ET.
Menendez is also facing tremendous pressure at home in New Jersey to step aside. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy quickly called for his resignation, as have members of the House delegation including Rep. Andy Kim, who said he will challenge Menendez in the June 2024 Democratic primary if he does not leave Congress before then.
The mounting calls put pressure on party leadership, including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to take a position. So far, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has called it a “serious matter” but the president has not personally weighed in on resignation calls. In a statement last week, Schumer said Menendez “has a right to due process and a fair trial” and supported his decision to relinquish his post as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
For his part, Menendez has aggressively defended himself against what he has characterized as a politically motivated and racist prosecution against the first Latino senator to represent New Jersey in the Senate. In a press conference on Monday, Menendez said he would not resign but he did not commit to running for reelection. This is the second time the New Jersey Democrat has been indicted, but a separate 2015 corruption case ended in a mistrial in 2017 and the government opted not to retry him. At the time, then-Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid stood by Menendez.