As Senator Robert Menendez fights his latest federal allegations of corruption and of even being a foreign agent, he has refused to resign, insisting he be given his due in court—again. In the meantime, as his Democratic allies turn away from him across the state, the drums have already begun to roll for his successor. Disgusted with Menendez, Governor Richard Codey threw his hat into the ring and endorsed First Lady Tammy Murphy in a statement issued Thursday while blasting Menendez in turn.
Codey said that, “New Jersey is facing a crucial moment in its history, created by an almost unfathomable turn of events playing out in a series of jaw-dropping federal indictments. I’m tempted to say it’s unlike anything I have seen in 50 years of service to this state, but I am, after all, your accidental governor. Make no mistake, though, there is nothing accidental about how our next U.S. Senator has prepared for the role. And so today, I am proud to endorse Tammy Murphy to replace Robert Menendez and deliver the strong and effective representation New Jersey deserves in the U.S. Senate.”
Codey described Mrs. Murphy as a “qualified, deserving and driven” person he has known for almost a decade. He was not afraid, however, to share a blistering rebuke of New Jersey’s current senior US Senator, a man who Governor Murphy, among other figures in the state, has called upon to step down. “He has betrayed the trust of the people he was elected to serve, and he is incapable of being remotely effective in the U.S. Senate. He would be wise to remove himself from office, not run for re-election in 2024 and focus on the serious criminal charges of corruption, bribery, fraud and acting as a foreign agent for Egypt that he is facing. That should be Bob Menendez’s full-time job, and Tammy Murphy’s should be U.S. Senator — New Jersey’s first female U.S. Senator.”
Codey acknowledged the influence of the First Lady and her power as a public figure, even though she (as yet) occupies no official office. “She has been called a co-governor since her husband, Phil, was elected six years ago. It’s a term she often has rejected, but the reality is this: Tammy Murphy showed up in Trenton from Day One and continues to be a presence and a force in this administration. She spends more time in Trenton than some of the people who were elected and paid to be there.”
One of New Jersey’s most senior statemen, Codey heaped praise on Mrs. Murphy, touting her as a leader with “integrity, vision and passion… the experience, skills and values to represent New Jersey with honor and excellence.”
The subtext, of course, was that Menendez does not. The senator had formerly been the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, an extremely powerful position in the Senate. Codey, in turn, noted of Murphy that her “…long record of success in international affairs, fundraising, philanthropy and the war on climate change are impossible to ignore.”
As Governor Murphy comes down from the excitement of his mission to promote New Jersey interests in Japan and South Korea, he seems to be positioning himself as an attractive possibility for a future Secretary of State if his post-Trenton political stars align. A former ambassador to Germany, Murphy has made high-profile trips to Ireland and India for promoting New Jersey partnerships during his administration. During the Asia mission Mrs. Murphy stuck close to her husband during the trip, sharing the spotlight with the governor. “She understands finance, economic development and the global economy — traits clearly on display during the administration’s recent trip to Asia,” Codey said. “And for those tempted to paint her as some out-of-touch globe-trotter, you’d be wise to remember her efforts right here in New Jersey on maternal and infant health, domestic violence and women’s empowerment. These are issues dear to my wife, Mary Jo, and me, and we know real when we see it. Tammy Murphy has earned the right to make history as our first female U.S. Senator. What better person to remove this shameful mark against our state?”
Codey finalized his endorsement of Murphy with another stinging attack on Menendez. The former governor said that she, unlike Menendez, was a figure the people of New Jersey could trust, and she would be “…a senator who will restore the dignity of the office unfortunately lost to recent headlines.”