Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), who is currently facing corruption and bribery charges, criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday outside the federal courthouse where the senator is standing trial.
Menendez is accused of carrying out "official favors" for his friend and mega-donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, in exchange for private jet flights, vacations, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Federal prosecutors allege the senator started taking bribes from Melgen shortly after he entered the Senate in 2006.
The New Jersey lawmaker was asked by a reporter whether he had any comments about Trump's Tuesday visit to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria's devastation.
"I think the president has difficulty both exhibiting empathy and understanding the magnitude," Menendez said. "As you saw the death tolls rise, and I predicted that it would rise, because there are parts of Puerto Rico that still are unaccessible."
"I pray to God that it doesn't rise, but we saw it rise, so the comments that the president has made that everything is ‘great' and everything is ‘working well' – that is not the reality that I saw on Friday," Menendez added.
New York Times reporter Nick Corasaniti tweeted on Wednesday that Menendez will be back in Washington, D.C. "for committee votes" and to speak from the floor on his "trip to Puerto Rico" since his trial is in recess for the rest of the week.
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) October 4, 2017