The bombshell corruption case facing Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) “looks ugly,” “looks bad,” and “is hard to explain,” The View co-host Ana Navarro said on Monday’s show, while revealing that she has known the embattled politician personally for some three decades.
“I’m having a very hard time reconciling the evidence I saw shown on TV with the Bob Menendez I have known for almost 30 years,” she said during Monday’s taping of the daytime talk show. “This is personally hard for me, when I saw all the evidence I’m shaken. I’m hoping against hope that there is some sort of logical explanation.”
However, according to the political commentator and Republican strategist: “[T]here is a bigger problem here than Bob Menendez.”
The real problem, Navarro went on, is Menendez’s wife Nadine—who is under indictment alongside her husband—“cashing in on his name,” which Navarro argued was much like “Joe Biden's son cashing in on his name, or Jared Kushner cashing in on that, or, you know, [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas.”
“Clarence Thomas was having his mama’s house paid for… by a billionaire,” Navarro continued. “So, there's got to be some consistency and at some point, Congress needs to get a hold of this swampy-ness going on. And they have got to deal with the idea that they can’t just have their stupid family members making money off their own name.”
Notwithstanding the fact that the accusations of wrongdoing leveled against Nadine Menendez, Hunter Biden, Jared Kushner, and Clarence Thomas are all very different from one another, Navarro pointed out that Menendez already beat federal graft charges in 2017, when a jury deciding his fate found itself deadlocked.
She said she expects Menendez to “fight,” and “go to trial” rather than accept any sort of deal. And, Navarro insisted, Menendez “is not going to resign.” (Menendez on Monday indeed announced his intention to stay put in the Senate, felony charges be damned.)
Navarro described Menendez, 69, as a close friend to the Latino community, noting his history of always having been “on the forefront” of issues concerning freedom and human rights in Latin America and beyond. Menendez was the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until he stepped down two days ago in the wake of the indictment, and remains the most senior Latino legislator in Congress, Navarro told her co-hosts.
Menendez is accused of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s influence as a Senator,” the indictment against him states. He was officially charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion. The alleged payoffs came via three New Jersey businessmen and included cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, a no-show job, a Mercedes, and “other things of value,” according to the indictment.
Beyond the alleged pay-to-play deals the feds say Menendez made to help his co-defendants avoid law enforcement scrutiny of their business dealings, the indictment says the powerful legislator also provided “sensitive, non-public U.S. government information to Egyptian officials, and otherwise took steps to secretly aid the government of Egypt.”
When the indictment was handed down last Friday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat, called on Menendez, who has vigorously denied the charges, to “immediately resign.”
“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state,” Murphy said in a statement.
On Monday, Navarro expressed continued shock at the charges.
“I can tell you, I have worked with him time and time again, brought many wealthy clients to him, brought many issues in front of him,” she said. “Never has there been any hint of impropriety, never has he hinted about a payback, or anything like that.”