House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi on Monday said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) should resign, adding the weight of one of Washington’s most prominent Democrats to the lengthening list of party members urging the embattled New Jersey senator to leave office.
“It probably would be a good idea if he did resign,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, reasoning that Rep. George Santos’ (R-N.Y.) ongoing federal indictment also demands resignation.
Pelosi said that that public skepticism around the government and what she described as governance issues within the Republican Party further merit Menendez’s resignation. At least a dozen House Democrats and three Senate Democrats have also issued similar sentiments about Menendez’s political future — including the bulk of party members from his home state.
Despite not having a formal leadership role anymore, Pelosi is perhaps the most prominent political figure in the Democratic Party to endorse Menendez’s resignation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that Menendez has a right to a fair trial. The White House on Monday said it viewed the ongoing indictment as “a serious matter” but that resignation was a matter left to the Senate.
Menendez has firmly insisted on his innocence and said most recently on Monday morning that he would not be leaving office. He is accused of misusing his office to benefit businesspeople and the Egyptian government in exchange for money, gold, house furnishings and a new car.
Menendez, in accordance with his caucus’ rules, stepped down from his chairship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Friday after the allegations emerged.
Pelosi’s comments add to the rising pressure the New Jersey Democrat faces.