A conservative political analyst argues the scandal involving Democratic Senator Robert Menendez could reap long-term benefits for the GOP.
The New Jersey lawmaker (right) is on trial on corruption charges as testimony enters its second week. Prosecutors say that in exchange for political favors, he took roughly one-million dollars in gifts, including airplane flights and stays at lavish hotels from longtime friend Dr. Salomon Melgen, who is facing fraud and bribery charges as well.
Menendez is “a real scoundrel,” says Tom Pauken, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
“I think barring a jury nullification, the man is clearly culpable,” the political observer tells OneNewsNow. “And he’s going to have to resign his seat in New Jersey, which gives Chris Christie the right to appoint.”
Pauken points out that appointing a Republican to replace Menendez could certainly help President Trump’s agenda. “He lost the vote on ObamaCare by one vote when [Arizona Republican] John McCain defected,” he explains. “That’s a two-vote swing right there, so it could make a difference.”
While any appointment by Governor Christie (R) would be temporary until the next election, Pauken contends it’s possible the GOP could hold on to the seat if the right candidate is selected.
“The right candidate [would be] a blue-collar, working-class Republican – or someone who reaches out to the working class Americans,” he describes. “There are a lot of them up in New Jersey, a lot of people who are very unhappy about the direction of the country. I think a Republican could win [a Senate election].”
The Associated Press reports that Melgen’s alleged former Dominican girlfriend testified today that her visa application was initially denied and then approved expeditiously after Melgen told her he would “fix it” by reaching out to “the senator.”
Democrats in the Senate continue to remain tight-lipped about the ongoing trial. For example, Kamala Harris – the first-term Democratic senator from California – several times has refused to respond when asked if she thinks a convicted felon should be permitted to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.