Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee joins calls for Menendez to step down
The New Jersey Democrat on Monday struck a defiant tone, reiterating he has no plans to leave office despite corruption charges against him.
uring his first public appearance since federal prosecutors accused him of corruption, Sen. Bob Menendez hit back at Democrats calling for him to step down and vowed to fight the charges in federal court. (Courtesy of Sen. Menendez’s office)
U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District) on Monday joined calls for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign. Federal prosecutors indicted Menendez last week on bribery and fraud charges, saying he took cash, gold, and gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help associates.
“Senator Menendez must resign,” Lee said in a statement. “Corruption is corruption. Bribery is bribery. We can’t talk about holding Thomas and Alito accountable for selling out our freedoms for luxury vacations and private jet flights if we fail to hold a Senator accountable for selling out his chairmanship to a dictator gifting gold bars and cash to keep military aid flowing to Egypt as its government violates human rights. Menendez is of course owed due process, but the American people are owed trust in our institutions. Our fight against right-wing fascism depends on that trust.”
Lee referred to reports from ProPublica that alleged Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had accepted luxury vacations from real estate mogul Harlan Crow, without disclosing them, and that Justice Samuel Alito had taken luxury trips paid for by billionaire Paul Singer. Both justices have denied any wrongdoing.
Menendez said during a press conference Monday that he would not resign from the Senate, and that the money prosecutors found in his home was from his personal savings.
“I recognize this will be the biggest fight yet, but as I have stated throughout this whole process, I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be the New Jersey’s senior senator,” he said.
The new case against Menendez marks the second time federal authorities have filed criminal charges against the New Jersey senator. A previous 2017 corruption trial ended with a deadlocked jury, but federal prosecutors said last week that the alleged schemes behind the new charges began the year after the mistrial.
“Remember,” Menendez said Monday, “prosecutors get it wrong sometimes.”
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