U.S. Senator Cory Booker on Tuesday joined a growing list of Democrats calling for Senator Bob Menendez to resign.
Menendez was recently charged with taking bribes from three businessmen in exchange for benefit to the Egyptian government and interfering with investigations into the three men.
Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey, becomes possibly the most significant voice to call for the resignation of his fellow New Jersey senator, as the two have been close throughout their time in Congress. Booker testified on Menendez’s behalf in a 2017 trial in which Menendez was charged with corruption.
Booker released a statement in which he spoke highly of Menendez as a person and colleague yet said the role of senator is one that requires much trust from the public and that it would be in Menendez’s best interest to resign.
“Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case, he must do so again. I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving,” Booker said in the statement.
Booker joins fellow U.S. Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin, Bob Casey, Jon Tester and Mark Kelly in calling for Senator Menendez to resign. All have released statements on the matter.
“While Senator Menendez enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and will have his day in court to defend himself, I believe that it is best for his constituents, and the American people, and our national security for the Senator to step down,” Baldwin said in a statement via X, formerly Twitter.
“Public service is a sacred trust. The specific allegations set forth in the federal indictment indicate to me that Senator Menendez violated that trust repeatedly,” Casey said via X.
“That’s a breach of that trust and a burden I believe will prevent him from fully serving. He should resign,” Kelly said, also via X.
“I’ve read the detailed charges against Senator Menendez and find them 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 in a statement on his website.
Senator Menendez, who has stepped down temporarily from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has made clear that he plans to remain in the Senate, while also claiming he will be found not guilty of all charges once the investigation plays out.
“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator,” Menendez said in a statement.