Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona says fellow Democrat Robert Menendez should resign
Sep 26, 2023, 9:13 AM | Updated: 9:45 am
(Getty Images File Photos)
PHOENIX — Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona has joined the growing list of Democrats calling on Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey to step down after being indicted on federal corruption charges.
“Sen. Menendez has the same constitutional rights and presumption of innocence as any other American. However, serving as a U.S. senator is a position of public trust. These are serious and alarming allegations of corruption and bribery involving his service in the United States Senate,” Kelly said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“That’s a breach of that trust and a burden I believe will prevent him from fully serving. He should resign.”
What are the accusations against Sen. Robert Menendez?
Menendez was charged Friday with secretly aiding the authoritarian regime of Egypt and trying to thwart the criminal prosecution of a friend in exchange for gold bars and cash as prosecutors unsealed a corruption indictment that accuses him of using his foreign affairs influence for personal gain.
The indictment, the second in eight years against the powerful 69-year-old New Jersey Democrat, alleges an illegal commingling of Menendez’s professional obligations as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advance U.S. priorities and his private interests in cultivating relationships with wealthy businessmen.
Menendez defiantly pushed back Monday, saying nearly half a million dollars in cash authorities found in his home was from his personal savings, not from bribes, and was on hand for emergencies.
How did Democratic senators respond to colleague’s indictment?
Democratic senators, including Kelly, initially took a measured approach to the developments.
Kelly called the charges “serious and shocking” Sunday morning during an appearance on “Face the Nation” but waited two more days before calling for his New Jersey colleague’s resignation.
Sen. Mark Kelly does not say whether Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) should resign, but calls the bribery charges against him "serious and shocking."
"I've never seen anything like this," Kelly says, adding that Menendez "must figure out whether he can adequately serve the people." pic.twitter.com/b12JLQCvXd
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 24, 2023
Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman was the first Democratic senator to publicly call for Menendez’s resignation on Saturday. He was joined Monday by Ohio’s Sherrod Brown and Vermont’s Peter Welch.
The list reached double digits Tuesday morning with multiple announcements, including from Kelly and Corey Booker, Menendez’s New Jersey Senate mate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.