Biden Calls for the Resignation of L.A. City Council Members over Racist Comments

Just In: City Council President is resigning today after initially agreeing only to take a leave of absence.

During the leaked conversation, reportedly recorded a year ago, Martinez mocked the Indigenous Oxacan community, calling them “little short dark people.” She also made racist remarks about the young Black son of fellow councilmember Mark Bonin, who is white. After De León reportedly called Bonin the “fourth Black member” of the council, Martinez accused Bonin of using his son as “an accessory” and claimed the child had acted out during a 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, when he was 2 years old. “They’re raising him like a white kid,” Martinez said. “I was like, This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.” She also described him as “parece changuito,” which the L.A. Times translated as “like a monkey.”

The Intelligencer

Councilman Mike Bonin — whose son was the subject of the derogatory remarks — gave an emotional statement on Tuesday. “I take a lot of hits, but my son?” said Bonin. He called his fellow council members’ comments unforgivable.

President Biden, who’s about to head west on a four-day swing that will bring him to Southern California, intervened in a simmering, racially explosive scandal involving three Los Angeles City Council members on Tuesday evening. His call for the resignation of all three officeholders, who were caught on tape in an extensive discussion full of offensive racial slurs, was conveyed by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Responding to a question in the briefing room, Jean-Pierre took the opportunity to draw a broader contrast for voters as the midterm elections near.

“Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans: When a Democrat says something racist or antisemitic … we hold Democrats accountable,” she said. “When a MAGA Republican says something racist and/or antisemitic, they are embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought after.”

One factor that probably affected the timing of Biden’s thunderbolt was that there was some Republican racism in the news: Over the weekend, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville told a Nevada GOP rally hosted by Donald Trump that Democrats were not just soft on crime but “pro-crime” and in favor of reparations “because they think the people that do the crime are owed that!” In her comments on the L.A. situation, Biden’s press secretary alluded to that incident.

The GOP reaction to Tuberville’s comments were non-existent. The silence coming from members of the party regarding Tuberville’s remarks was especially appalling — as a football coach, Tuberville made millions off the talents of young black athletes.

New York Intelligencer and NPR