Bob Menendez was at maximum speed today in the strongest attack yet in his re-election bid against Bob Hugin, slamming him for his record of women and members of the LGBTQ community, drug prices during his time as pharmaceutical company CEO, and his ties to Donald Trump and Chris Christie.
At a press conference across the street from Princeton University, where Hugin now serves as a trustee, Menendez and supporters laced into the Republican candidate for leading an effort to exclude women from membership in a private eating club he headed — and for a lawsuit that challenged a state civil rights order to finally admit women.
“Bob Hugin could have led by example. He could have been a voice for progress and inclusion,” said Menendez. “Instead, Bob Hugin stood in the way of progress and worked to preserve Princeton’s Tiger Inn as a haven for straight, wealthy, white male privilege — even making threatening comments about how a gay member would not last long in his club.”
Menendez said Hugin opposed the creation of a gay alliance at Princeton and ran a petition drive to stop the group’s formation.
“Bob Hugin says his views evolved after college, but the facts tell us a very different story. He was a full-grown married man when he launched his misogynistic crusade in 1992 to keep women out of his good-old boys club,” Menendez said. “I remember how Dr. King said that the arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice. Well, Bob Hugin tried to bend the arc backwards for New Jersey’s women and we’re not going to let him go to the United States Senate.”
Menendez said that Hugin has had made opportunities to take a principled stand against Trump over the past two years, but failed to do so
“Hugin stood with Trump when he bragged about sexually assaulting women. Hugin stood with Trump when he said that abortion should be criminalized and that women should be punished, Hugin stood with Trump when he nominated anti-choice judges like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh,” Menendez said. “New Jerseyans don’t someone who will stand with Donald Trump, they need someone who will stand up to Donald Trump.”
The strongest argument against Hugin came from civil rights leader Steven Goldstein, the founder of Garden State Equality and a Menendez supporter.
“Bob Hugin is a con man on LGBTQ rights. Bob Hugin is a con man on women’s rights. Bob Hugin is a con man on social justice in the same way Donald Trump is a con man in the White House,” Goldstein said. “Bob Hugin is Steve Bannon in a trojan horse feeding on overpriced Celgene medication.”
Goldstein mocked Hugin’s claim to being a “different kind of Republican.”
“Bob Hugin, will you apologize publicly to every cancer patient you gouged and put in misery? Will you pledge to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ, anti-women, anti-black and anti-latino candidates? Will you oppose any future judicial nominations of people who oppose Roe v. Wade, marriage equality and affirmative action,” Goldstein asked. “Will you pledge if god forbid the Republicans are still in the majority in the U.S. Senate not to vote for Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader? Will you pledge to withhold support for Donald Trump should he still be in office and run for re-election in 2020,” asked Goldstein. “A different kind of Republican could say yes to all those things.”
Goldstein said that Menendez has spent his entire career in the trenches fighting for equal rights.
“We are talking about Bob Menendez the mensch versus Bob Hugin the con man,” said Goldstein. “I want Menendez. I say no to the con man.”””
Menendez also criticized Hugin’s description of himself as a different kind of Republican.
“That would require a different kind of Bob Hugin,” Menendez said. “One who didn’t petition against gay rights at Princeton. One who didn’t go to court to keep women out of the good-old boys club. One who didn’t stand by Chris Christie when he refused to restore Planned Parenthood funding during his eight years as governor. That Bob Hugin doesn’t exist.”