Third Democratic senator calls on Menendez to resign

Sen. Pete Welch (D-VT.) has called on fellow Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign from his position amid the longtime senator’s recent indictment on federal charges, becoming the third Democratic senator to do so. 

“Senator Menendez is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” Welch wrote in an X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, post on Monday. “But the people of New Jersey and the United States Senate are entitled to an effective Senator.” 

“The shocking and specific allegations against Senator Menendez have wholly compromised his capacity to be that effective Senator,” Welch added. “I encourage Senator Menendez to resign.” 

Welch joins Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.) and Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on the list of senators who have called for Menendez to step down from Congress. 

“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence under our system, but he is not entitled to continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations,” Fetterman said in his statement Saturday. 

Menendez, along with his wife, Nadine, was indicted on federal bribery charges late last week. 

Prosecutors allege that the couple received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to assist three New Jersey businessmen and their interests in Egypt. Federal authorities also found nearly $500,000 in cash and $100,000 in gold at the couple’s residence during a raid last year.

Menendez, who had to step down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denied the allegations against him, saying during a press conference on Monday that he plans to fight the charges against him. 

“The allegations leveled against me are just that: allegations,” Menendez said at the news conference. “I recognized that this will be the biggest fight yet. But as I have stated through this whole process, I firmly believe that when all of the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I will still be New Jersey’s senior senator.”

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