Senator Menendez Persists in Senate Despite Calls for Resignation


Senator Bob Menendez of the United States left a closed-door meeting with his Democratic colleagues on Thursday, insisting on remaining in the Senate despite calls for his resignation due to federal charges of accepting bribes.

After the hour-long meeting, Menendez told CNN, "I will continue to voice the concerns of the people in New Jersey, just as I have for the past 18 years. I am confident that when they need these voices, they will seek me out to represent them."

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin reiterated to reporters multiple times that Menendez stated during the meeting that he would not resign. Manchin added that none of the senators raised questions to the 69-year-old senator.

Temporarily stepping down from chairing the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, Menendez was replaced by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.

Many Democratic senators declined to comment to reporters as they left the meeting on Thursday.

Senator John Tester, known for his frankness in demanding resignation, stated to reporters that he did not attend the lunchtime meeting. However, he added that Menendez "continues to display an astonishing level of arrogance." He further stated, "I want to explore all available avenues" to compel Menendez to leave, including full Senate action to expel him.

It requires a two-thirds vote from the 100 members of the Senate to remove a member. This has happened only 15 times in the history of the United States, with 14 occurrences during the American Civil War to support the Confederacy.

At least 27 members of the Senate, out of a gathering of 51, consisting of Democrats and three independents who usually vote with them, have called for Menendez's resignation. Among those calling for resignation are Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Gary Peters, the head of the Democratic Campaign Committee in the Senate, and Senator Cory Booker, the other representative from New Jersey in the Senate alongside Menendez.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, stated on Wednesday that Menendez's conduct fell below the appropriate level for a Senate member but did not call for his resignation.

Previously, Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were accused of accepting gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for using their influence to interfere in law enforcement investigations with three businessmen from New Jersey and aiding the Egyptian government.

The senator and his wife were acquitted in court on Wednesday.

Elections for Menendez's Senate seat will take place next year. New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972, but Menendez's legal troubles may pose obstacles for his party, which is trying to maintain its slim majority in the Senate.

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