LA Suburb Embroiled in Military Controversy

Pico Rivera, Calif. City Councilman and El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido is watched over by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy as he addresses the public during a city council meeting at Pico Rivera City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Pico Rivera, Calif. The city council passed a resolution asking for the resignation of Salcido, who was recorded making anti-military remarks to his students in January. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Pico Rivera, Calif. City Councilman and El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido is watched over by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy as he addresses the public during a city council meeting at Pico Rivera City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Pico Rivera, Calif. The city council passed a resolution asking for the resignation of Salcido, who was recorded making anti-military remarks to his students in January. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

City Council members in a Los Angeles suburb passed a resolution Tuesday night condemning and asking for the resignation of one of their colleagues who in his work as a school teacher called members of the U.S. military “the lowest of our low.”

“God bless America!” one Pico Rivera councilman shouted as the vote passed.

Councilman Gregory Salcido, who has been on leave from El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, is seen on a video scolding a 17-year-old student wearing a U.S. Marine Corps sweatshirt and urging him not to join the military.

“They’re not like high-level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people; they’re the frickin’ lowest of our low,” Salcido said on a recording made by a student.

“I don’t understand why we let the military guys come over here and recruit you at school. We don’t let pimps come in the school.”

The video was posted to social media and has drawn millions of views, along with outraged comments.

President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly said last month in a radio interview that Salcido “ought to go to hell” for his remarks. Mayor Gustavo Camacho called it “bullying, arrogant and aggressive behavior.”

The council can’t force Salcido from his post but Camacho introduced a motion to censure Salcido, which would bar him from city committees and appointments, and to ask him to resign from the council. He said he was sorry to anyone his comments may have hurt, but he did not apologize for the remarks themselves, which he said “were definitely out of context.” Salcido said he was trying to get his students, most of whom are low-income minorities, not to settle for the Army or Navy.

“I wanted to challenge them to reach their academic potential.” Salcido’s comments came after he listened to nearly 50 angry but mostly orderly and calm speakers, many of them veterans.