Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who has become an outspoken critic of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in recent months, presented his colleague with a challenge Friday.
“I’m daring Menedez to run for reelection,” he said Friday in an with CNN’s Jake Tapper, after backing the New Jersey senator’s 2024 primary challenger, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), earlier this week.
Fetterman was the first Democratic senator to call for Menendez to resign or be removed from his seat after he was indicted on charges of bribery over allegations that he and his wife accepted $600,000 in bribes from three businessmen in exchange for favors, and acted as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt.
The embattled Democrat was also hit with a second second superseding indictment earlier this month, which alleges he accepted gifts from the Qatari government and helped a real estate developer obtain millions in investment funds from the Gulf country. Menendez has denied the charges.
In the wake of the news, Kim jumped into the race. Fetterman said is “enthusiastic” about the lawmaker’s background, adding that “anything would be an upgrade over Menendez.”
“One of the most important things is that we have a reliable Democratic vote,” Fetterman said Thursday in an interview with The New York Times. “We have to run this table in ’24 in order to maintain the majority. But we need to count on every Democratic vote. Andy Kim is the kind of guy we can count on.”
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On Friday, Tapper also asked Fetterman about reported plans that he will try to force a vote on a resolution to prevent senators who have been indicted on issues of national security from going to classified briefings.
“We should have chucked that sleazeball long ago,” the senator said, according to a post on X, formerly Twitter, by CNN’s Manu Raju. “But now we’re looking to move my resolution to the floor, and I’m going to call on unanimous consent so we can stop any senator that is being accused of being a foreign agent attending classified briefings.”
Fetterman didn’t answer Tapper directly about whether he would move forward with the plan, but said he believed Menendez shouldn’t be allowed in the meetings.
“[H]e definitely doesn’t have the right to be in classified briefings, when that involves nations that he is now credibly accused of being a foreign agent of, and it’s outrageous,” he said.