Sen. Bob Menendez slapped back at Fox News for being “neither fair nor balanced” after he was confronted about a photo of him on a sunny beach in Puerto Rico.
The New Jersey Democrat was part of a delegation of lobbyists and about 30 Democrats who traveled to Puerto Rico with their families for a retreat over the weekend focusing on the damage and recovery from 2017’s Hurricane Maria, Fox News reported.
In addition to being treated to a special performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” Democrats were in attendance at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC event in San Juan while also meeting with officials like Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
A photo of Menendez in swim trunks and shirtless on a Puerto Rico beach has gone viral as Democrats have come under fire for the trip amid a partial government shutdown.
Spotted: Sen. Bob Menendez on the beach at a resort in Puerto Rico on Day 22 of the partial government shutdown. Reports say dozens of Dems are in PR for the CHC BOLD PAC winter retreat — including meetings on Maria cleanup, and a party with PR’s “Hamilton” cast. pic.twitter.com/6FaBYKPo4L
— David McAlpine (@DavidMcAlpine) January 12, 2019
The lawmaker was not too pleased when “Fox & Friends First” host Rob Schmitt tried to ask him about the photo on Monday as the lawmakers gathered for the last meeting in San Juan before returning to the U.S.
“You could have had hours and hours and hours of meetings, and you chose one thing for an hour,” Menendez said, referring to the photo, as he walked away.
“I want to be fair,” Schmitt said, walking after the senator.
“You guys are not fair. You’re neither fair nor balanced,” Menendez responded as he moved on.
And of course no one says anything. I’m not even in government and I’d get killed in the press if I was on vacation right now. Why won’t they cover their democrat buddies lobbyist sponsored vacation in the islands??? https://t.co/EC63O8WiYy
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 13, 2019
Schmitt reported Tuesday on “Fox & Friends” that there were “a lot of meetings” and discussion about Puerto Rico managing its debt following the devastation the hurricane left behind. But there was also a lot of “leisure time” he noted, all while the nearly three dozen Democratic lawmakers were flown in on a private charter plane, put up in a high-end hotel and had all expenses covered.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 12, 2019
California Congressman Tony Cardenas defended the decision to make the trip even amid the negative optics of the move.
“Yes, a shutdown is going on in Washington, but as you can see, people are living and thriving and trying to survive here and it’s our job to come here – touch, feel and understand what Puerto Rico has been going through,” he told Schmitt.
Accused of accepting bribes for political favors, charges he has denied, Menendez faced a corruption trial in New Jersey last year which ended in a hung jury.
President Trump slammed Democrats as he spoke to reporters from a snowed-in White House
“I’ve been here all weekend. A lot of the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something,” he said.
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