White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre weighed in on the federal bribery charges against Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., on Monday, saying it was a "serious matter" but declined to call for his resignation.
Jean-Pierre made the comments in response to questions from reporters at Monday's White House press briefing. Multiple prominent Democrats have already called on Menendez to resign, though he brushed off those calls in a Monday press conference.
"Now that [Menendez] has said that he is not going anywhere, and given that President Biden is the leader of the Democratic Party, does the president believe that a person facing allegations that are as serious as the allegations that are confronting the senator – that there is any place for someone like Sen. Menendez in the Democratic Party?"
"So I'm going to be very clear, this is a serious matter. We see this as a serious matter," Jean-Pierre responded. "We believe that the senator stepping down from his chairmanship was the right thing to do, obviously."
"As it relates to anything else, any decision he has to make, that's certainly gonna be up to him and the Senate leadership to decide, but of course, we see this as a serious matter. I'm just gonna leave it there for now," she added.
Menendez appeared before the press on Monday, insisting that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash the FBI found at his home was withdrawn from his personal savings account.
In June 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant at Menendez and his wife's New Jersey home, where federal agents found many of the fruits of the alleged bribery scheme, including cash, gold, a luxury convertible, and home furnishings. Prosecutors say $480,000 in cash, much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe, was discovered in the home, as well as over $70,000 in cash in Nadine's safe deposit box. Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of New Jersey businessman Fred Daibes or his driver, according to the indictment.
Menendez has hired attorney Abbe Lowell to represent him in the case, the same defense lawyer Hunter Biden is using in his federal gun crime charge.
"The allegations leveled against me are just that, allegations," Menendez said. "For anyone who has known me throughout my 50 years of public service, they know I have always fought for what is right. My advocacy has always been grounded. And what I learned from growing up as the son of Cuban refugees, especially my mom, my hero, Evangelina Menendez, everything I accomplished, I worked for despite the naysayers and everyone who has underestimated me."
"I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator," he added. "The court of public opinion is no substitute for our revered justice system. We cannot set aside the presumption of innocence for political expediency when the harm is irrevocable."
Menendez has also attempted to play the race card on Friday, condemning "how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat."
Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.