Councilman compares military service to fast-food work, recruiters to pimps
Protesters hold up signs during a city council meeting at Pico Rivera City Hall in California on Tuesday, Feb.
(Photo: Chris Pizzello, AP)
A suburban Los Angeles councilman is refusing calls for his resignation and defending his anti-military rant by comparing military service with working in a fast-food restaurant.
Pico Rivera Councilman Gregory Salcido is on leave from his teaching position at El Rancho High School after disparaging military service in a tirade that compared military recruiters to pimps. Salcido’s comments, recorded by a student last month, went viral on social media.
The controversy drew an overflow crowd to the Pico Rivera council meeting Tuesday night, with dozens of speakers blasting Salcido as disrespectful and un-American.
“America, love it or leave it, is the bottom line,” said Raul Rodriguez, 76.
The council approved a resolution condemning Salcido and asking for his resignation. Salcido apologized to anyone he offended but refused to quit.
He said his job as a teacher is to urge students to go to college.
“It’s not just the military — I don’t want them to work in a fast-food restaurant, either,” Salcido told the crowd. “I am talking about their academic standing. I don’t think it’s at all a revelation to anybody that those who aren’t stellar students usually find the military a better option. That is as plain as that it’s Tuesday night.”
Salcido acknowledged he is a pacifist but said many of his students are minorities from low-income households who don’t realize the effect a college degree could have on their lives.
A couple speakers defended Salcido.
Eric Gleason, 20, said he might not have graduated from El Rancho in 2015 without him.
“I believe he gave me the courage to just be myself,” Gleason told the crowd.
The comments that sparked the outrage were reportedly made while Salcido was teaching a history class.
“Think about the people who you know who are over there. Your freaking stupid Uncle Louie or whatever. They’re dumb (expletive),” Salcido told the class. “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 he was mystified as to why “we let the military guys come over here and recruit you at school.
We don’t let pimps come in the school.”
The rant drew the attention of the White House, with Chief of Staff John Kelly telling Fox News Radio days after the recording went viral that Salcido “ought to go to hell,” adding, “I just hope he enjoys the liberties and lifestyles that we fought for.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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