New corruption charges against Senator Bob Menendez and his associates emerged on Friday. Menendez, a three-term senator, has defiantly vowed to counter these charges. This response mirrors his stance during previous federal accusations he faced nearly a decade ago.
The charges have strained Menendez’s relationships within New Jersey’s Democratic establishment. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and other state leaders called for Menendez’s resignation in light of the allegations. However, long-time acquaintances believe Menendez will not give in without a fight. Steve Sweeney, the former Democratic Senate president, respects Menendez’s resilience and determination.
Bob Menendez, 69, has been a significant figure in New Jersey’s political landscape for almost five decades. Menendez’s career began at age 20 as a Union City school board member before he graduated from law school. He later served as the city’s mayor, where his roots run deep. From there, he was elected to the state Assembly, state Senate, and the U.S. House.
Menendez became a U.S. senator in 2006, after Jon Corzine’s gubernatorial win. He was reelected in 2012 and 2018 despite facing a corruption trial mistrial in 2017. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that Menendez will “temporarily” step down as chairman until the resolution of this case. Menendez has earned a reputation for being durable. He has consistently proven his critics wrong by continually emerging victoriously.
In 2020, Senator Bob Menendez married Nadine, also named in the Friday indictment. He has two children from a prior relationship: daughter Alicia Menendez, a television news anchor and author, and son Rob Menendez, a congressman. In a recent statement, Rob Menendez stood firmly behind his father’s ‘integrity and values.’
Bob Menendez has been vocal on several progressive issues in Congress. These include overhauling the immigration system, securing abortion rights, and critical Biden administration policies. His liberal politics have endeared him to New Jersey voters, where registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans. However, former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg expressed concern about his political future.
These new charges allege Menendez repeatedly acted to benefit Egypt, raising red flags regarding the country’s human rights situation. He also stands accused of attempting to influence the criminal case against a businessman advocating for Philip R. Sellinger to be named the U.S. attorney for New Jersey. This situation marks yet another controversy in Menendez’s political career, indicating serious decisions lie ahead for his party.