President Joe Biden has joined the ranks of officials and community members calling for three Los Angeles City Council members to resign over their involvement in the racist conversation captured in a leaked audio recording.
“I spoke to him about it yesterday,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a White House briefing, per USA TODAY. “The president is glad to see one of the participants in that conversation has resigned, but they all should. He believes that they all should resign.”
“The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable,” she said. “It was appalling. They should all step down.”
L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, and Ron Herrera, the president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, came under fire earlier this week for racist remarks made during an October 2021 conversation obtained by the LA Times.
Herrera resigned from his post on Tuesday (October 11), but Martinez, who is at the center of the controversy, remains on the council after moving to step down as president and take a leave of absence. Cedillo and de León also remain in their council seats.
In the leaked audio recording, Martinez made racist comments about the Black child of fellow councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white, claiming that he “handled his young Black son as though he were an accessory.” She said Bonin’s son acted “like a monkey” in Spanish, adding that the boy’s parents were “raising him like a little white kid.”
“I was like, this kid needs a beatdown,” Martinez said in the leaked conversation. “Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
Biden joins top California Democrats including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who have made resignation calls following the leak.
During the White House press conference this week, Jean-Pierre compared how Democrats have responded to racism in their party as opposed to the GOP.
“When a Democrat says something racist or anti-Semitic, we really hold Democrats accountable,” she said. “When a MAGA Republican says something racist or anti-Semitic, they’re embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought-after endorsements.”