Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined the growing chorus of voices demanding the resignation of Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey. The call comes in the wake of charges against Menendez for accepting bribes in the form of gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz, and other gifts.
Ocasio-Cortez expressed her concerns on Sunday, characterizing the charges against Menendez as “extremely serious” and stating that he should step down from his position.
A mounting number of Democrats, including John Fetterman, a US Senate Democrat, have called for Menendez’s resignation. Additionally, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey has announced his intention to run against Menendez in next year’s primary election.
Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the importance of consistency in holding politicians accountable, regardless of their party affiliation. She urged Menendez to resign, stating, “The details in this indictment are extremely serious. They involve the nature of not just his but all of our seats in Congress.”
These remarks by Ocasio-Cortez follow her previous calls for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas over his acceptance of undisclosed gifts from wealthy right-wing donors.
Menendez has been accused of using his position to support Egypt’s authoritarian government and of pressuring federal prosecutors to drop a case involving a friend. He has consistently denied these charges, stating, “I am not going anywhere.”
Despite Menendez’s stance, calls for his resignation continue to gain momentum. Even the Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, has joined the growing chorus.
If Menendez were to step down, Governor Murphy would be responsible for appointing his replacement, who would serve until a special election is held.
In the midst of this controversy, Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer has reiterated his previous call for Menendez to step aside, citing the gravity of the charges. Gottheimer emphasized the need to focus on important issues, especially with upcoming elections and distractions.
Menendez is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, allegedly in connection with his involvement on behalf of Egypt and for allegedly pressuring federal prosecutors to drop a case involving a friend. The indictment against Menendez claims that he and his wife received a series of bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for engaging in corrupt activities. FBI agents involved in the investigation discovered significant amounts of gold, purportedly provided by businessman Fred Daibes, in Menendez’s residence, along with approximately $500,000 in cash. Some of the money was found in envelopes, closets, and even the senator’s jacket pockets.
Democratic Congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey has announced his intention to run against Menendez in the 2024 primary election, citing Menendez’s refusal to resign despite calls to do so. Kim believes it’s time to restore faith in democracy and is taking a stand for what he believes is best for New Jersey and the country’s integrity.