“It would probably be a good idea if he resigned,” the powerful Democrat told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki.
The senator was indicted last week in the Southern District of New York on allegations that he and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz and nearly half a million dollars in cash. Prosecutors allege the couple took the valuables in return for helping several businessmen and supporting the Egyptian government. He has denied the allegations.
Pelosi said Monday that the allegations appeared “significant,” adding that she respected her colleagues who urged Menendez to resign. She referred to the Democrats’ stance on the allegations against freshman congressman George Santos (RN.Y.)and noted that if Democrats asked Santos to resign from office after he was indicted, one of their Democrats should do the same.
“If we actually say you should resign if you’re impeached, then in the House, as you know, we have a situation in New York state where that would also apply,” Pelosi said, referring to Santos. “But right now, unfortunately, because of the challenges we face and the skepticism that exists in our country about governance, about this Republican Party that doesn’t believe in governance, we need to continue to focus on that.”
Pelosi’s comments significantly add to calls from other Democrats who have called on Menendez to resign. Senators John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) all said the charges have affected lawmakers’ ability to do their jobs, joining a growing list Chorus from nearly a dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Menendez has so far resisted those calls, saying on Monday that his colleagues had “rushed to judgment.” He promised to remain in office and pursue re-election.
“I will be exonerated and will continue to be New Jersey’s senior senator,” he added.