Updated Sep 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

6th Senate Democrat calls on Menendez to resign after bribery indictment

Sen. Bob Menendez during a March Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Six Democratic senators have called for Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-N.J.) resignation after his federal indictment on bribery charges last week.

Why it matters: Menendez has defied growing calls to resign from lawmakers, including a number of House Democrats and leading New Jersey Democrats.

Driving the news: Tester described the charges against Menendez as "deeply disturbing."

  • "While he deserves a fair trial like every other American, I believe Senator Menendez should resign for the sake of the public's faith in the U.S. Senate," Tester said.
  • Baldwin said that the indictment "spells out deeply troubling allegations" against Menendez that "breach the American people's trust and compromise his ability to effectively represent his constituents."
  • "While Senator Menendez enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and will have his day in court to defend himself, I believe it's best for his constituents, the American people, and our national security for the Senator to step down," Baldwin said.

State of play: Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) both called for Menendez's resignation on Monday. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) called for the embattled New Jersey lawmaker to step down over the weekend.

  • Brown said in a statement that Menendez "has broken the public trust and should resign from the U.S. Senate."
  • Joining those calls on Monday evening, Welch said in a statement that Menendez was "entitled to the presumption of innocence," but "the people of New Jersey and the U.S. Senate were entitled to an "effective" senator.
A screenshot of a tweet by Democratic Sen. Peter Welch, saying: "The shocking and specific allegations against Senator Menendez have wholly compromised his capacity to be that effective Senator.  I encourage Senator Menendez to resign."
Photo: Sen. Peter Welch/X

The big picture: Menendez defended himself Monday during his first public appearance since the indictment and said that he believes he will be exonerated.

  • "The allegations leveled against me are just that — allegations," Menendez said.

Zoom in: More than half of the Democrats in New Jersey's congressional delegation and several leading New Jersey Democrats, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, have all called for Menendez to resign.

  • Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were charged Friday with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
  • He is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

Go deeper: Pressure grows on Bob Menendez to resign from Senate after indictment

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Sen. Peter Welch, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Bob Casey.

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