Several Senate Democrats, including Cory Booker, are calling for Sen. Bob Menendez to resign following his indictment on bribery and corruption charges. Booker, a longtime friend of Menendez, expressed shock at the allegations against him but believes that stepping down is in the best interest of those Menendez has served. Eighteen Democratic senators, some facing competitive re-election campaigns, have publicly called on Menendez to resign. Mark Kelly and Raphael Warnock, who recently won Senate races, have also called for Menendez’s resignation. Menendez has defended himself against the charges and pleaded with his colleagues for time to address them.
The indictment against Menendez alleges that he and his wife accepted bribes in exchange for using his influence to benefit New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government. Prosecutors claim to have found $480,000 in cash hidden around his home, as well as other valuable items. Menendez and his wife have denied any wrongdoing, with Menendez explaining that he withdrew cash over the years in case of emergencies. However, his colleagues argue that the allegations indicate a violation of public trust. Local officials, including Gov. Phil Murphy, and Democrats like Nancy Pelosi have also called for Menendez’s resignation.
The calls for Menendez’s resignation are significant considering his influence as a senator. With several Democrats facing re-election, they are concerned that the corruption charges against Menendez could impact their own campaigns. Booker’s statement, as both a colleague and a friend, indicates the seriousness of the situation. Menendez, however, maintains his innocence and hopes to be cleared of the charges, promising to continue serving as New Jersey’s senior senator. The outcome of this case could have implications for the Democratic Party’s image and control of the Senate.