In a speech to his colleagues and Senate Democrats, New Jersey’s Robert Menendez defiantly declared his innocence and said he had no plans to resign despite being indicted on bribery charges. This happened after appeals from more than half of the Democrats in the Senate, including the party’s campaign chairman, for Menendez to step down.
Pennsylvania Democrat Senator John Fetterman proposed the idea of removing Menendez from office. He promised to use all available means to force Menendez to resign from his position. Fetterman has quipped that a Jersey home hasn’t been stashed with as much cash since Tony Soprano’s.
More than half of the Senate Democrats and their campaign chief had previously appealed before Menendez’s speech. Senator John Fetterman, who had been the first to call for Menendez’s resignation, skipped the meeting in which the New Jersey Democrat addressed his colleagues because, he said, “I have no interest in hearing what Senator Menendez has to say unless he is intending to announce his retirement.” He also hoped New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader, would ask Menendez to resign.
To be expelled from the Senate, you need the support of two-thirds of the Senate or 67 senators. Any senator can introduce such a motion. During the Civil War, when most senators who supported the Confederate insurrection were removed from office, this procedure was employed only 15 times. Since 1862, not a single senator has been expelled, though others have resigned rather than face that possibility.
Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) told reporters following Menendez’s statement that everyone in the United States is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, highlighting that not all prominent Democrats have condemned the senator.
Schumer did not respond to Menendez’s remarks at the event even though he has not asked for his resignation.