Menendez Joins Gov-elect Murphy and Booker at a Press Conference for the First Time

Booker, Murphy, and Menendez

NEWARK – Bob Menendez officially returned to the role of public ally on a statewide stage this afternoon, as he joined Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo at the executive’s kickoff, and then stood in front of a brace of microphones with Governor-elect Phil Murphy for the first time.

Junior Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined them in a troika of statewide power projection.

The senior senator was supposed to be toast, and today – on the other side of his hung jury corruption trial – appeared reanimated as a Teflon terminator, who nonetheless took careful pains to stay centered on certain issues, even as his colleague let it rip with an attack on President Donald J. Trump.

Murphy said he talked to Booker and Menendez and One Gateway Center on a variety of topics, including the Gateway Project, “Which they are all passionately supportive of,” according to Murphy, and in mutual opposition of “that awful federal tax plan making its way through conference.

“An awful bill,” Murphy reiterated.

As Booker took pains to double down on his call for Trump to resign on the heels of U.S. Senator Al Franken’s surrender, Menendez sedately occupied himself with other matters, namely the Gateway Tunnel issue.

“The Gateway Tunnel is incredibly important to me,” he told reporters. “We lost that [owing to the opposition of Governor Chris Christie] and now we have a challenge.”

He also denounced the tax bill as a “bad bill for New Jersey and a bad bill for America.”

Menendez said he had urged Republicans to make the conference process public and to engage independent scorekeepers, most critically the Congressional Budget Committee.

Murphy, Menendez and Booker presented a united front in denouncing the cuts in the bill to the Affordable Care Act. “You’re either with the constituents who elected you or you’re with Trump,” Murphy said.

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