Several Senate Democrats, including Cory Booker, are calling for Senator Bob Menendez to resign over federal bribery allegations against him. Over 20 Senate Democrats have expressed the same sentiment, including those running for reelection next year. Menendez has refused to step down but has not declared whether he will run for reelection. The allegations against Menendez accuse him and his wife of using his position to support the Egyptian government and pressure federal prosecutors, among other corrupt acts. Menendez denies any wrongdoing and claims the cash found in his home is from personal savings.
Despite facing heavy pressure to resign, Menendez remains defiant and insists on his innocence, similar to his response to previous bribery charges. He has stepped down from his leadership position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but has made it clear that he intends to stay in office. While Booker’s call for Menendez’s resignation carries weight due to their previous support for one another during Menendez’s last trial, it is unusual for senators to publicly criticize their colleagues. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders have not yet recommended Menendez’s resignation. The White House declined to comment on whether President Joe Biden believes Menendez should resign.
If Menendez chooses to run for reelection, he will likely face opposition within his party. Democratic Representative Andy Kim has already announced his candidacy for the Senate following the charges against Menendez. Senator Gary Peters, the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called for Menendez’s resignation, suggesting that he is unable to effectively serve the public’s best interests. As the pressure mounts, Menendez’s arraignment, along with his wife and two businessmen co-defendants, is scheduled for Wednesday. Another defendant, Wael Hana, was arrested at New York’s Kennedy airport after voluntarily returning from Egypt to face charges.