Sen. Cory Booker has called for his New Jersey counterpart, Sen. Bob Menendez, to resign, four days after Menendez was indicted for allegedly accepting bribes.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement:
“For nearly a decade, I’ve worked in the Senate alongside Senator Menendez. As New Jersey’s junior Senator, I imagine that I’ve had more professional experiences with him than most others, and I’ve witnessed his extraordinary work and boundless work ethic. I’ve consistently found Senator Menendez to be intellectually gifted, tough, passionate, and deeply empathic. We have developed a working relationship and a friendship that I value and believe has furthered our effectiveness in serving New Jersey.
“Senator Menendez is again facing a federal indictment, one that contains shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing. I’ve found the allegations hard to reconcile with the person I know.
“It is not surprising to me that Senator Menendez is again determined to mount a vigorous defense. And I still believe he, like anyone involved with our criminal justice system, deserves our presumption of innocence until proven guilty. A jury of his peers will make the ultimate decision as to whether he is criminally guilty.
“There is, however, another higher standard for public officials, one not of criminal law but of common ideals. As Senators, we operate in the public trust. That trust is essential to our ability to do our work and perform our duties for our constituents.
“The details of the allegations against Senator Menendez are of such a nature that the faith and trust of New Jerseyans as well as those he must work with in order to be effective have been shaken to the core.
“As Senator Menendez prepares to mount his legal defense, he has stated that he will not resign. Senator Menendez fiercely asserts his innocence and it is therefore understandable that he believes stepping down is patently unfair. But I believe this is a mistake.
“Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again. I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving.”