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Menendez facing resignation calls, primary challenge

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) faces resignation calls from nearly a dozen fellow Democrats after his indictment on bribery charges.

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Menendez facing resignation calls, primary challenge

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has run out of friends. Several Democratic office holders, in New Jersey and elsewhere, have called for his resignation after his indictment on bribery charges. One Representative, in calling on him to resign, announced that he will challenge him in next year’s primary.

Fellow Democrats to Menendez: resign

The calls for Menendez to resign started to come almost immediately after Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the unsealing of a three-count indictment against Menendez, his wife Nadine, and three New Jersey businessmen who have bribed him over several years. According to Blaze and Fox News, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) is the most prominent thus far. On the day of Williams’ press conference, Murphy cited implications for “national security and the integrity of our justice system.” The charges against Menendez include “skid grease” for military sales to Egypt, and interfering with prosecutions of two “benefactors.” (The third, Wael “Will” Hana, was the go-between between Menendez and the Egyptian government.) Murphy said that Menendez cannot “effectively represent the people of” New Jersey with such serious charges against him.

LeRoy Jones, head of the New Jersey Democratic Party, said much the same.

Four New Jersey Democratic Representatives have also called on the senator to resign:

  • Andy Kim (D-3rd), the first, who also intends challenging Menendez in the primary, saying “New Jersey deserves better,”
  • Frank Pallone (D-6th),
  • Bill Pascrell (D-9th), and
  • Mikie Sherrill (D-11th).

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, also called on Menendez to resign. Her refrain is the same: a Member of Congress, especially a Senator, cannot represent his electors effectively with charges of this kind against him. She also criticized him for saying the charges and resignation calls came because he is a Latin.

And in the Senate,…

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) became the first fellow Senator to call on the New Jerseyan to resign. Again, the refrain was the same: he can’t do his job and fight such serious charges at the same time.


Other Democrats who have called for resignation include former Attorney General Eric Holder and Reps. Den Phillips (D-Minn.) and Jeff Jackson (D-N.C.).

Menendez denies the bribery allegations and suggests he did nothing wrong, and nothing different from any other Senator. But former Governor (and U.S. Attorney for New Jersey) Chris Christie expressed open skepticism. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, he spoke to the likelihood of guilt.

I did this … for seven years as the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, the fifth largest office in the country. We did 130 corruption cases and never were defeated. So I know a bit about this. There is no way that any public official has any legal, or plausible, or ethical explanation for having $500,000 in cash stuffed in jackets and envelopes throughout their home, gold bars that have the fingerprints, DNA of someone who you were attempting to fix the system for. I commend the Southern District of New York for doing the right thing.

Among Christie’s 130 corruption cases was his takedown of long-serving Essex County Executive James W. Treffinger. That case arguably made him famous enough to defeat Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and become Governor.

The White House, in the person of Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, peremptorily refused comment.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.



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