U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) responded to the news that President Donald J. Trump commuted the sentence of his friend and donor, Salomen Melgen.
“I don’t pretend to know what motivates President Trump to act, but I am pretty sure it’s not me,” said Menendez.
“Months ago, I was asked if I could offer insight about an old friend, and I did, along with what I understand were more than 100 individuals and organizations, including his former patients and local Hispanic groups familiar with Sal’s leadership and philanthropy in the South Florida community,” added the U.S. senator, poised to become the chairman of the SSenate Foreign Relations Committee.
“While only the President has the power to pardon, I had no expectation that he would act. I made clear a year ago when I voted for his removal from office that Donald Trump was unfit for the presidency, and I believe that more so today after he incited a violent insurrection that threatened our democracy, took five lives–including a Capitol police officer from New Jersey–and endangered the United States Congress and the Vice President.”
Looking ahead, Menendez offered the following statement on the day’s historic unfolding event:
“The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris marks the start of a new chapter in our nation’s history with leaders in the White House focused on solving problems instead of just creating them, leaders who will fight for all Americans, leaders who will restore dignity to the office and America’s standing around the globe.
“This historic day should bring all of us a sense of optimism and pride. But I hope it also brings us a sense of resolve as we face enormous challenges: a raging pandemic that has taken 400,000 of our loved ones, friends and neighbors; a spiraling economic crisis that is crushing hardworking families and small businesses and disproportionately hurting low-income and minority communities; the existential threat of climate change; and civil unrest that threatens to tear our country apart.
“I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to put the needs of the American people above all else. We must defeat COVID-19, create a fairer economy that works for everyone, protect our environment, strengthen our democracy, and heal our divided nation. We may be living through some very dark times, but today is a new dawn in America with brighter days ahead for the United States and for our families.”