Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez (not seen) depart a Manhattan court after they were arraigned on federal bribery charges in New York, September 27, 2023.
Fatih Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey vowed again Thursday to remain in the Senate after privately addressing his fellow Democrats, most of whom have called on him to resign in the face of a bribery indictment.
“I will continue to cast votes on behalf of the people of New Jersey as I have for 18 years,” Menendez told reporters after the closed-door meeting with the Senate Democratic caucus.
“And I am sure when they need those votes, they’ll be looking for it for me to cast those votes,” he said.
Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who was the first Democrat to call for Menendez to step down, in a social media post on Thursday wrote, “Unless Senator Menendez is coming today to resign, I am not interested in hearing his ‘explanation’ for gold bars stashed in a mattress.”
Fetterman skipped the meeting.
“It’s a pattern and he really needs to decide to resign,” Fetterman told reporters. “He’s clearly not going to have an honorable exit.”
Menendez, 69, last week was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and other charges with his wife, Nadine, and three New Jersey businessmen.
The couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charges in federal court in Manhattan.
Prosecutors have said that a raid on their house last year found not only the gold but also hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible that they allegedly received in exchange for Menendez using his influence to try to help the three men.
The senator has repeatedly said he does not plan to resign.
Twenty-nine Democratic senators, and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with them, have urged Menendez to step down.
Among them are Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate majority whip, as well as third-ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Patty Murray of Washington, the Senate president pro tempore.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.