Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania called for the resignation of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, comparing his Democratic colleague to the infamous fictional crime boss Tony Soprano.
Menendez was indicted last week on federal corruption charges. Court documents show that the senator had hidden large amounts of cash and gold bars in his apartment that he allegedly received through bribes. Menendez remained defiant, denying any wrongdoing and declaring that he was “not going anywhere.”
While Fetterman is one of several senior Democrats who have called for Menendez to resign after his indictment was made public, he was the first Democratic Senate colleague of Menendez to call for his resignation.
During an MSNBC appearance on Tuesday night, Fetterman compared Menendez to the criminal protagonist of the iconic HBO series The sopranosHe said the evidence against him was “so clear.”
“To be honest, I was actually surprised that I was first [to call for his resignation]Fetterman said. “I mean, it’s so black and white. I mean, it’s so clear. The last time a man had that much money in his house in New Jersey was, uh, Tony Soprano… I mean, it’s not a close call.”
“If you were to look for the most incriminating types of evidence, no one could find gold bars in a mattress,” he continued. “He has the right to have his day in court, but he has no right to remain in the Senate. And he has to go.”
Fetterman went on to say that his call for resignation was about “the integrity” of the Senate. He said he believes New Jersey is “a safe blue seat” and that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who has also called for Menendez’s resignation, is ready to appoint his successor.
Newsweek emailed Menendez’s office seeking comment Tuesday evening.
Menendez has faced corruption allegations for many years and was indicted on conspiracy and bribery charges in 2015. Charges against Menendez were dropped after his 2017 trial ended in a hung jury.
Appears at a press conference On Monday, Menendez reiterated that he was not guilty of the charges made in the new indictment and predicted that he would be “exonerated” and remain in office “when all the facts are presented.”
Responding to Menendez’s claim during the press conference that the $480,000 cash that federal authorities said they found in his home was for “emergencies,” Fetterman quipped, “We have an extra flashlight for our home ones.” Emergencies.” post on X, formerly Twitter.
In the days since Fetterman urged Menendez to resign, at least nine other Senate Democrats joined him, including Menendez’s fellow New Jersey senator, Cory Booker.
“Senator Menendez strongly maintains his innocence and therefore it is understandable that he believes the resignation is patently unfair,” Booker said in a statement Tuesday. “But I believe that is a mistake…I believe that resignation is the best thing for those that Senator Menendez has served throughout his life.”