By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden believes three Los Angeles City Council members should resign over racist remarks exposed in leaked recordings this week, his press secretary announced Tuesday.
“The president is glad to see that one of the participants in that conversation has resigned, but they all should. He believes that they all should resign,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling.”
President Biden is the latest elected official – and the highest profile – to join the chorus of voices calling for the resignation of Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo over racist comments made during a conversation in October 2021 that was leaked in audio recordings this week. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California lawmakers from the Legislative Diversity Caucuses called for resignations.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also joined other state lawmakers in calling for resignations Tuesday.
“I agree with the members of my caucus — it’s time for these council members to resign,” the speaker wrote in a tweet.
The leaked recordings, shared by the Los Angeles Times, features the Latino council members and Los Angeles Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera engaged in a conversation that included racist remarks about another council member’s black son and racist comments about Oaxacans living in Koreatown.
At one point in the conversation, Ms. Martinez, president of the council, made offensive remarks about Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white. Ms. Martinez called Mr. Bonin a “little b**ch” and said he “think he’s f***ing black.” Ms. Martinez then made comments about Mr. Bonin’s black son, referring to him as “changuito,” which means “little monkey” in Spanish.
Mr. De León also chimed in during the conversation and appeared to compare the way Mr. Bonin handles his son to Ms. Martinez carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag.
All four members involved in the conversation have issued apologies.
Ms. Martinez announced she would resign from her position as president on Monday and said Tuesday she would be taking a “leave of absence” from the council. Many Los Angeles residents and elected officials are calling for the full resignation of all three council members involved.
Mr. Herrera resigned from his post Monday night, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A few Los Angeles City Council members are also calling for the resignations of Martinez, de León and Cedillo. Facing a chamber packed with enraged Los Angeles residents, Council member Mitch O’Farrell said during a Tuesday city council meeting that “the court of public opinion has rendered a verdict, and the verdict is they all must resign.”
Mr. Bonin also offered tearful remarks on Tuesday, calling for resignations and condemning the “trusted servants who voiced hate and vile.”
“Public officials are supposed to call us to our highest selves, and these people stabbed us and shot us and cut the spirit of Los Angeles,” Mr. Bonin said. “It gave a beat down to the heart and the soul of the city.”
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.