New calls for the resignation of Senator Menendez, a prominent Democratic Senator from New Jersey, have arisen this week from within the ranks of his fellow Senate Democrats. This controversy comes in the wake of a 2016 corruption conviction for which Menendez paid a $600,000 fine but was ultimately acquitted.
The calls for Sen. Menendez’s resignation can be tracked to an April gathering of Senate Democrats held at the end of President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. After discussing the plans for the Biden administration’s agenda, the group was led into a heated debate about the ethics and future of Sen. Menendez.
A majority of the Senators present at the meeting expressed the belief that the Senator should resign in order to restore the confidence of the public in the democratic system. Though Menendez responded that “resignation is not in the cards,” many of his colleagues felt he should reconsider if he is to keep his party’s trust.
The backlash against the Senator has been so severe that several of his New Jersey Democratic colleagues recently signed a letter to Governor Phil Murphy, urging him to launch a probe into Menendez’s ethics.
The governance implications of this move are immense as a few years ago, Sen. Menendez was the third highest ranking Senate Democrat. His fall from grace has caused a major disruption in the Senate Democratic leadership which is now scrambling to appoint a replacement who can both bring a fresh perspective and still be an effective voice for the party in the upper chamber.
The debate has only been further confounded by the fact that the Senator’s legal troubles are far from over. He is currently facing two separate federal corruption charges and has thus been legally prohibited from being within 100 miles of the US Capitol since 2017, further bringing into question his ability to remain a leader for New Jersey and the nation.
In summary, the gravity of the situation has only been increasing for Senator Menendez as more Democratic Senate colleagues call for his resignation in light of his legal woes and ethical failings. This pressure has left the Senator’s future uncertain as his future and that of the Democratic Senate Leadership stands to be determined.