Chris Christie says he will NOT run for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat as pressure mounts for
Chris Christie isn’t interested in trying to fill embattled Sen. Bob Menendez’s congressional seat – even if his 2024 presidential run is unsuccessful.
It comes as even Democratic members are calling for the New Jersey senator’s resignation following bribery claims.
A federal grand jury indicted the senator and his wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez over corruption allegations in an investigation that focused on a luxury car, $400,000 in gold bars and cash, plus payments toward a home mortgage allegedly received by the couple.
While even those within Menendez’s own Party seem not to want him in the Senate any longer, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t be the one to take his place.
‘I have no interest in being in the United States Senate,’ Christie told Meet the Press host Kristen Welker in a Sunday morning interview.
Presidential hopeful Chris Christie says he has no interest in serving in the U.S. Senate as he gave a decisive ‘no’ when asked if he will run for embattled Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s Senate seat in 2024
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife Nadine Arslanian are accused of having an inappropriate relationship with businessmen that used the Senator’s position for their enrichment. The couple are pictured at the White House in May 2022 – both deny the corruption charges against them
It’s highly unlikely that Christie, who polls toward the middle to back of the pack, will be Republican’s candidate in 2024. But he made it clear that his alternative plan is not to join the U.S. Senate.
Welker pressed: ‘You rule it out completely?
‘Yes, I have,’ the former governor and one-time Trump adviser said. ‘I have throughout my entire career. I had a chance to appoint myself to the United States Senate, Kristen, in 2013 when Frank Lautenberg passed away and I was governor.’
‘If I didn’t appoint myself to the United States Senate, the easiest way to get there, I sure as heck am not going to run for it,’ he explained.
Menendez is a two-term senator and son of Cuban immigrants – and is up for reelection in 2024. Before becoming a senator, Menendez served in the House since 1991 representing at different times two separate New Jersey districts.
He denied on Friday corruption charges against him and claims the indictment is racially motivated. He refused to resign.
‘Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first generation Latin American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. senator,’ he said in a statement claiming he stands ‘falsely accused.’
Durbin, who ranks just behind Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, stopped short of calling for his resignation – but was critical of the senator’s alleged actions that led to the charges.
‘This is a very serious charge,’ Durbin told CNN during an interview with State of the Union host Dana Bash on Sunday morning.
He compared the charges to the seriousness of the indictments against former President Trump.
‘In terms of resignation,’ Durbin added, ‘that’s a decision for Sen. Menendez and the people of New Jersey.’
Many Democrats are calling for the resignation of Menendez – or at least for him not to run for reelection in 2024. But the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, stopped short of calling for Menendez’s removal on Sunday
The indictment against Menendez claim the senator and his wife had an improper relationship with three New Jersey businessmen: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, who allegedly paid the couple in exchange for Menendez to use his influence in Washington D.C. to their benefit.
The couple face three criminal counts each – conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
Menendez also stands accused of providing ‘sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt .’
The three businessmen are also facing charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
Menendez said prosecutors in the Southern District of New York ‘misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office’ in the indictment against him.
‘I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent,’ he said in a statement on the charges.
The senator added he would not be ‘distracted by baseless allegations’ but continue his work as senator. He has agreed to step down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.