President Joe Biden has been following the tumultuous situation in the Los Angeles City Council, and believes those involved should resign, after three Los Angeles City Council members were caught on a recorded conversation that included racist comments about colleague Mike Bonin's 2-year-old Black adopted son, the White House Press Secretary said Tuesday.
"He believes that they all should resign. The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable, and it was appalling," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said after questioned by a reporter. "They should all step down."
Protesters have called for the resignation of Councilmember Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Ron Herrera, a top LA County labor official. The recorded October 2021 conversation about redistricting included several racist comments.
Get Southern California news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC LA newsletters.
Among comments in the conversation, Martinez belittled Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white and has a Black son, and criticized the child for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying Bonin's son was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and the other women on the float didn't step in to "parent this kid."
"They're raising him like a little 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.'"
Martinez also called the child "ese changuito,'' Spanish for "that little monkey."
Councilmember Martinez has since taken a leave of absence, and resigned as president, but has not resigned from council entirely.
De León also compared Bonin's handling of his son at the MLK Parade to "when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag."
Press Secretary Jean-Pierre also went on to draw parallels between the LA City Council situation, and others when racist language is used.
"And here's the difference between Democrats and MAGA Republicans -- when a Democrat says something racist or anti-Semitic, we hold them -- we hold Democrats accountable. When a MAGA Republican says something racist or anti-Semitic, they are embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought after endorsements," she said.
Outside City Hall Tuesday, activists shouted, booed and chanted, forcing the start of the 10 a.m. meeting to be delayed.
Bonin made a tearful statement inside council chambers.
"I am still trying to wrap my head around this," Bonin said. "My husband and I are both raw and angry and heartbroken and sick for our family and for Los Angeles. As an Angeleno, I am reeling from the revelations of what these people said. Trusted servants who voice hate."
At Tuesday's meeting, Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Mike Bonin, Mitch O’Farrell, Curren Price and Nithya Raman introduced a motion to censure the three members and demand their immediate resignation.
It was not immediately clear who recorded audio of the conversation, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, about council redistricting that involved three members of the council and a county labor official. The audio, which appeared on Reddit, but was later removed from the site, also includes discussion of efforts to replace Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who's been indicted on federal corruption charges.
Herrera resigned from his position as the head of the LA County Federation of Labor on Monday. The organization confirmed his resignation in a statement Tuesday morning, and called for de León, Cedillo and Martinez to "follow President Herrera’s example by immediately resigning as well."