Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he's "not going anywhere" as a growing number of his colleagues call on him to resign amid controversy.
The New Jersey Democrat and his wife, Nadine, were charged with bribery by a grand jury on Friday, as The Washington Examiner reported.
The accusations centered on a supposedly corrupt relationship with three New Jersey industrialists.
NEW: Sen Menendez responds to calls for his resignation w/ new stmt: “It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere.”
Full statement is here: pic.twitter.com/qkVTXhwoAw
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 22, 2023
Menendez's response indicated he has no intention of resigning despite a mounting number of Democratic officials calling for his resignation.
"Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty. I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I've had for the past five decades," he said in a statement.
"This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along. It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere," he added.
Democrats from New Jersey, including Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Democratic state Chairman LeRoy Jones, have led the effort in seeking Menendez's resignation.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and ex-Attorney General Eric Holder have both urged him to resign. Menendez agreed to provisionally step down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite his refusal to resign.
In his indictment, he is also accused of using his position as chairman to "benefit the Egyptian government in various ways," including providing it with classified information.
Menendez has denied the allegations and accused an anonymous group for attempting to tarnish his reputation.
As with his refusal to resign, his initial statement alluded to prejudice against him as a Hispanic as the basis for the indictment.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave," he said in a statement.
"Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists."
“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction," he continued. "Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals."