It would be “inappropriate and wrong” for New Jersey Sen. Bob Mendendez to remain in the Senate if convicted in his felony corruption trial, Vice President Mike Pence indicated on Tuesday.
Menendez, a Democrat, faces 18 corruption-related charges in connection with allegations that he wrongfully assisted a donor and friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in navigating government issues while Melgen attempted to get away with more than $100 million in Medicare fraud.
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday morning, Pence said that “having a convicted felon in the United States Senate, I think, would be altogether inappropriate and wrong.”
Pence dodged, though, when asked whether the Senate should “move quickly to expel” Menendez if convicted. “I think that’ll be a decision for members of the Senate,” Pence said. (RELATED: MSNBC Host Says Case Against Menendez ‘Doesn’t Look Close, It Looks Overwhelming’)
Senate Democrats have done their best to avoid saying whether Mendendez should resign if convicted.
If Mendendez leaves the Senate before his term ends in 2018, the governor of New Jersey — currently Republican Gov. Chris Christie — would appoint his replacement, potentially giving Republicans one more seat in the Senate.