Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was recently indicted on several serious bribery-related charges, probably didn't expect the heat he's getting from members of his own party.
According to Fox News, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the latest high-profile Democrat to call on Menendez to resign following the bombshell news of his legal woes.
AOC described the charges he faces as "extremely serious," and on Sunday, during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," called on him to step down.
Notably, AOC also quashed any race-based defense that Menendez might use to defend his position.
While some Democrats have expressed concern over the charges the New Jersey senator faces, many have stopped short of calling on him to resign. But not AOC.
"The situation is quite unfortunate, but I do believe that it is in the best interest for Sen. Menendez to resign in this moment. As you mentioned, consistency matters. It shouldn't matter whether it's a Republican or a Democrat," she said Sunday.
She immediately blocked his ability to play the victimized race card, essentially saying that while Latino Americans face "systemic bias" like other minority groups, the charges Menendez faces rise far above anything related to race.
"As a Latina, there are absolutely ways in which there is systemic bias. But I think what is here in this indictment is quite clear. And I believe [resignation] is in the best interest to maintain the integrity of the seat," she said.
BREAKING REPORT: AOC calls on Sen. Menendez to resign..
"The situation is quite unfortunate, but I do believe that it is in the best interest for Sen. Menendez to resign in this moment."
"As you mentioned, consistency matters."
"It shouldn't matter whether it's a Republican… pic.twitter.com/yTzWX53FD3
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) September 24, 2023
Fox News noted:
Menendez stepped down "temporarily" from his position as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. He faces federal bribery charges alleging that he and his wife, from at least 2018 through 2022, "engaged in a corrupt relationship" with three New Jersey businessmen.
Other high-profile Democrats, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), believe that the embattled New Jersey Democrat should call it quits before the situation turns even uglier.
— Inside with Jen Psaki (@InsideWithPsaki) September 26, 2023
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) agreed, and hoped Menendez would do the "honorable" thing.
Senator Menendez should resign.
He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.
I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 23, 2023