Hugin’s Ad so Untruthful, Trump Could Have Directed it, Menendez Says


HACKENSACK – Bob Menendez never has had trouble fighting back.

And he did that Wednesday with blistering rhetoric, about two dozen women supporters behind him and the unveiling of a new ad with the  message – “Bob Hugin is willing to do anything except tell the truth.”

If that wasn’t enough, Menendez in rapid-fire order called his Republican opponent, a “slime ball,” a “misogynist,” and a “liar.” 

All this was prompted by a new Hugin TV commercial accusing the senator of having sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

That is not a new accusation. In fact, it surfaced six years ago just before the senator’s 2012 reelection.

The problem for Hugin is that the charge was quickly found to be unproven – more than five years ago.

Meeting the press at Bergen County Democratic headquarters, the senator played an old CNN report that said the prostitutes allegedly involved with the senator admitted they were paid to make up salacious stories about him. They also denied being prostitutes.

And as the senator noted, the FBI found no evidence to support the allegations.

Here, it must be mentioned that Menendez’ past is not pure.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges in 2015.

And his trial included tales of the senator riding on private jets and staying at luxurious resorts in the Dominican Republic and Paris.

There were also reports that he tried to help multiple girlfriends of Salomon Melgen, his friend and sometimes traveling companion, get visas to come to the United States. The government dismissed the charges after the trial ended in a hung jury.

Lurid tales of prostitution may be a logical extension to the trial narrative, but there seems no objective evidence to support them.

Menendez distributed a list of news organizations and other groups that have condemned Hugin’s ad.

The senator’s event took place at about the same time a Quinnipiac University poll appeared giving Menendez a lead of 7 percentage points. Other polls have had the race as close as 2 points and as wide as 11.

The Hugin campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Menendez’ press conference.

But there were a group of mostly women Hugin supporters demonstrating against the senator outside the site of the press conference on Hudson Street. Some said Menendez has been ineffective as a senator, but they didn’t directly address the controversy over Hugin’s ad.

What the ad has done is to help bring sex into New Jersey’s midterm elections three weeks before the vote.

Along with ads about prostitution, state politicians are coping with the ongoing story of the Murphy administration giving a key job to a man who had been accused of sexual assault by a fellow campaign worker. Congressional candidates from both parties have called for an independent investigation of that matter.

Amid all of his indignation and anger – Menendez began by saying he was worried about the language he’d use – the senator clearly wanted to make a political point important to his campaign.

And that is linking Hugin to Donald Trump.

He said that the prostitution ad was so untruthful, “It might as well be directed by Donald Trump himself.”

In a state where Trump’s approval ratings are less than 40 percent, Menendez stands to benefit if voters look at Hugin and see Trump.

At one point, he compared Hugin’s tactic to “throwing a grenade into a room.”

That’s actually pretty good symbolism.

Hugin’s grenade certainly has exploded.

But we may have to wait for the smoke to clear – or until Nov. 6 – to see the effect it had.

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One response to “Hugin’s Ad so Untruthful, Trump Could Have Directed it, Menendez Says”

  1. Senator Bob Menendez has me so upset that I have decided to drop my U.S. Congressional campaign in NJ-11 and instead focus on my newly launched write-in campaign to claim his seat. I just know that Bob Menendez must be very corrupt, otherwise he would not have Mikie Sherrill as his running mate. Mikie spoke in favor of ISIS in a dream the I had the other night, so it’s pretty clear that a vote for her is a vote for ISIS. Please write-in Trad Jay Webber for Senate on Election Day, everyone!

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