Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Monday became the second Senate Democrat to call on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign after he was indicted on federal bribery charges late last week.
“Senator Menendez has broken the public trust and should resign from the U.S. Senate,” Brown said in a statement.
Menendez, along with his wife, Nadine, are accused of accepting bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in order to further interests in Egypt. Menendez, who is up for reelection in 2024, has denied the allegations and insists they are part of a “smear campaign” and are “salacious” in nature.
The Ohio Democrat’s call follows that of Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who said Saturday that he hopes Menendez “chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.”
“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 a statement.
Democrats in New Jersey — including House lawmakers, state leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) — have called on Menendez to resign, but Senate Democrats have been slow to join the chorus.
Senate Democratic leaders have also declined to do so.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said only that Menedez made the right call in standing aside as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Menendez reiterated Monday that he has no plans of going anywhere.
“The allegations leveled against me are just that: allegations,” Menendez told a crowd in Union City, N.J. “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.”