Stand Strong, Bob Menendez

The senator deserves a free and fair trial!

Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) (Getty Images)
September 26, 2023

A growing number of Democrats have called on Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) to resign after federal prosecutors merely indicted him on corruption charges. Not since the morally unconscionable #MeToo crucifixion of former Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) have Democrats so swiftly thrown a colleague under the bus to placate a mob.

This egregious rush to judgment is enough to make us miss the days when Democrats reflexively distrusted law enforcement. Schumer and other senators should treat Menendez with the same presumption of innocence that they themselves would wish to be afforded if their own house was raided and revealed to hold several kilos gold bullion of undetermined origin.

In a sign of just how warped the Democratic Party's outlook on justice has become, the congresswoman and aggrieved celebrity Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) preemptively exonerated the feds on charges of racial discrimination against a fellow Hispanic lawmaker, calling the bribery allegations against Menendez "quite clear." We'd need to see some evidence before concluding Joe Biden's Department of Justice is incapable of racial bias.

As much as Democrats would love to preside over a justice system based solely on the pronouncements of cable news talking heads, that's just not how things work in America. We are fortunate to live in a country where defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a free, fair, and speedy trial. No one knows that better than Menendez, who urged his colleagues "to pause and allow for all the facts to be presented" while rebuffing their calls for his resignation. Menendez may even want to consider waiving his right to a speedy trial and letting this process drag out all the way through November 2024.

The federal government's first attempt to convict him on corruption charges ended in failure in November 2017. Several weeks later, Franken resigned from the U.S. Senate after several women accused him of sexual misconduct and his Democratic colleagues demanded a sacrifice to appease the nasty women screeching in the streets. Franken now says he "absolutely" regrets his decision, as he should, and even the New Yorker's Jane Mayer went seeking answers from his uncollegial Democratic counterparts.

"I couldn’t believe it," Franken told Mayer of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "I asked him for due process and he said no." Will this man walk into the same trap?

Unless Democrats are intent on destroying the cherished justice-oriented norms that have upheld our democratic system since our nation's founding, they should keep quiet while the legal process plays out, and continue to work with Menendez on crafting sensible foreign policy solutions to our national security challenges in the Middle East.

Franken did not respond to a request for comment.