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Rosen calls on embattled Menendez to resign, joining other Senate Democrats

The Nevada senator was one of several Senate Democrats running in 2024 to call on the New Jersey senator to step down.
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
CongressElection 2024ElectionsGovernment

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) called Tuesday morning for indicted Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) resignation, joining a raft of vulnerable incumbents in distancing herself from the beleaguered New Jerseyan.

In a statement, Rosen said Menendez is entitled to a fair trial, but called the indictment a “distraction that undermines the bipartisan work we need to do in the Senate for the American people.”

“The well-documented political corruption charges are a violation of the public trust, and Senator Menendez should resign,” Rosen said in a statement

Menendez was indicted Friday on federal corruption charges. According to the indictment, the longtime Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman was alleged to have accepted bribes from Egyptian government officials, including receiving gold bars and a luxury car. The indictment alleges that Menendez used his power to do favors for officials in Egypt’s authoritarian government in exchange for personal enrichment.

In a Monday press conference, Menendez was defiant, rejecting calls to resign and saying that the $480,000 in cash found in his home as part of the investigation were emergency funds he withdrew because of his heritage, saying his family faced confiscation in Cuba. He has repeatedly cited his Latino identity as an explanation for the indictment.

Rosen was the eighth Senate Democrat to call for Menendez to resign, joining Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Bob Casey (D-PA), among others. Those five are all running for re-election in 2024 in states that President Joe Biden won by small margins or lost in 2020.

Rosen’s campaign also said it would donate $10,000 received in March from Menendez’s New Millenium PAC to charity.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) told Semafor's Joseph Zeballos-Roig Tuesday evening that the matter was "up to the voters of New Jersey."

The two are often allies on issues affecting Latinos, as two of just four Latino Senate Democrats — a group in which Menendez is the most senior member. The other two — Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) — have not publicly spoken about Menendez since the indictment was released. 

Earlier this year, Rosen sponsored a bill to deny federal pensions to lawmakers convicted of felonies related to their time in office. Brought into the spotlight earlier this year after the indictment of Rep. George Santos (R-NY), the Menendez case could again provide momentum for Rosen’s bill.

Menendez was previously indicted in 2015 — again on corruption charges — in a case that ended in a mistrial in 2017. Although Republican Chris Christie was governor of New Jersey during his prior legal battle, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy now occupies the governor’s mansion in Trenton, meaning he could appoint another Democrat to Menendez’s seat if he resigns. Murphy, as well as a number of other New Jersey Democrats, quickly called on Menendez to step down last week.

At the time of Menendez’s Monday press conference, Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was the only senator to have called for his resignation. Rosen’s announcement — shortly followed by fellow New Jersey’s other Democratic Sen. Cory Booker — was part of a dam break Tuesday morning.

This story was updated Tuesday afternoon to include comment from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.


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