President Biden believes that the three Los Angeles City Council members who were involved in a closed-door meeting, in which racist language was used to describe colleagues, should resign from office, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez resigned from her leadership role following a leaked audio recording that captured open racist remarks made last year with other Latino council members Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo.
“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,” Jean-Pierre said. “The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling. They should all step down.”
Jean-Pierre then argued Biden’s call for the council members to step down illustrated the difference between Democrat and MAGA Republicans when one of their own “says something racist or antisemitic.”
“We hold Democrats accountable. When a MAGA Republican says something racist and/or anti-Semitic, they are embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought-after endorsements,” she said.
Her comparison seemingly brushed aside Biden’s long history of controversial racial comments, such as famously describing his then-running mate Senator Barack Obama as “the first mainstream Africa-American who is articulate, bright, and clean.”
On Tuesday, a crowd of protesters packed the Los Angeles City Council chamber Tuesday, calling for the resignation of Martinez, de Leon, and Cedillo.
The start of the meeting was delayed as protesters shouted for de Leon and Cedillo to leave the room, while police officers scurried at the edge of the crowd, waving futilely for protesters to sit down.
De Leon sat impassively at his seat, his eyes cast downward, as protesters called on him by name to exit the chamber. Other Council members urged the crowd to be quiet and allow the meeting to begin, and if necessary threatened to empty the chamber.
Martinez did not appear at the meeting, where protesters shouted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Nury Martinez has got to go! What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
Martinez’s recorded remarks, which included mocking the Black son of Mike Bonin, a white councilman, came during a private discussion with de Leon, Cedillo and a Latino labor leader about protecting their political power during the redrawing of council district boundaries, known as redistricting. The once-a-decade process can pit one group against another to gain political advantage in future elections.
Blacks and Latinos often build alliances in politics, but tension and rivalries among groups separated by race, geography, partisanship or religion have a long history in Los Angeles. The friction can cross into housing, education and jobs — even prisons — as well as the spoils of political power.
On the profanity-laced recording, the group discussed the city’s redrawing of Council district boundaries, as well as the need to reelect Latino members and protect economic interests within Latino districts, the Los Angeles Times, which obtained the recording, reported.
On the recording, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera expressed the need for caution in handling a district held by a Black councilman who had been indicted on federal corruption charges. He warned that the Black community could look at it as “a hostile takeover.”
“Because politically, they’re going to come after us,” Herrera said on the recording.
Herrera resigned Monday night, Thom Davis, chair of the federation executive board, said Tuesday in a statement that called on the elected officials involved in the conversation to do the same.
Fox News has reached out to Martinez, de Leon, and Cedillo for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.