Philadelphia mayor’s comments draw calls for resignation

Northeast

PHILADELPHIA (NewsNation) — In the wake of tense back-to-back mass shootings in May, the nation saw its Independence Day celebration marred by more violence. Shootings in nearly every state killed at least 220 people, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

From Richmond, Virginia, to suburban Chicago, communities are reeling from gun violence. In Philadelphia, a shooting disrupted the city’s fireworks show, scattering a crowd of thousands and injuring two officers.

However, what Mayor Jim Kenney said after those shootings has stirred up a lot of anger in the City of Brotherly Love.

“I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time, so I will be happy when I’m not mayor, and I can enjoy some stuff,” Kenney said Monday night at a press conference following the July 4 shooting.

When asked, “You’re looking forward to not being mayor?” Kenney replied, “Yeah.”

Kenney issued a press release on Tuesday clarifying those comments.

“It was very late, and I was overcome with emotion and frustration after such a beautiful day,” he said, reassuring Philadelphians he wants to stay in office. “I’m incredibly grateful to be mayor of the great city and for the people who elected me to lead.”

But Monday’s comment has led to calls for Kenney’s resignation after eight years in office.

“Our city and our citizens are also exhausted and frustrated and that we as a city need someone with the passion and vision to lead us now, and I stated in my social media text to resign,” said Philadelphia Councilman Derek Green.

Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz said Kenney’s comments were enough to merit his immediate resignation.

“Mayor Kenney should resign from office,” Oz said in a statement. “Kenney’s comments about how he will be happy when he is no longer mayor is further indication he has given up on Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia is in the midst of a gun violence crisis. A mass shooting last month left three people dead and nearly a dozen more wounded. So far this year, there have been 268 homicides in the city, and 244 of those victims died from gun violence.

In 2021, the city set a record for homicides with 562 deaths, and it’s on pace to surpass that number this year.

“So I was concerned about that statement the mayor made about his level of exhaustion and frustration,” Green said.

Kenney has heard the calls for his resignation but quickly reminded people he was elected with 80% of the vote. He says he won’t be pushed out; he will walk out when his term ends.

“I put my heart and soul into this job. I care about people, and we’re trying to do positive things to keep people safe,” Kenney said.

Kenney is in his second term, which ends in 2024.

Meanwhile, the city is offering a $20,000 reward to anyone who can lead detectives to the shooter from Monday night.

The Hill contributed to this report.

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