Sep 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Fetterman becomes first senator to call on Menendez to resign

Sen. John Fetterman. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Saturday became the first senator to call for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign after he was indicted on federal bribery charges on Friday.

Why it matters: Fetterman joins a growing chorus of House Democrats — including several from Menendez's home state — arguing Menendez should step down.

What he’s saying: “Senator Menendez should resign,” said Fetterman, a first term progressive, in a statement.

  • “He's 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,” he said.

The details: Menendez is accused by federal prosecutors of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes — including in the form of gold ingots — in exchange for using his power to help a trio of New Jersey businessman.

  • Menendez is also accused of using his position atop the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to benefit the government of Egypt.
  • Menendez stepped down as Foreign Relations Committee chair on Friday in accordance with Senate Democratic Caucus rules.

The big picture: Most House Democrats from New Jersey have called for Menendez to resign, with Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Donald Norcross joining the group on Saturday.

  • “Given the gravity of the allegations, I believe it will be difficult for the Senator to carry out his responsibilities,” Gottheimer said in a statement posted to X.
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