Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won a vote in the US Senate to become ambassador to India after his nomination was delayed almost two years over concerns he mishandled a sexual harassment case during his time in office.
(Bloomberg) — Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won a vote in the US Senate to become ambassador to India after his nomination was delayed almost two years over concerns he mishandled a sexual harassment case during his time in office.
Garcetti was confirmed 52-42, with support from several Republicans negating the opposition of a handful of Democrats who argued against his nomination because of the claims surrounding his former top aide, Rick Jacobs.
A former Garcetti communications director-turned-whistleblower, Naomi Seligman, had called Garcetti a “powerful enabler” of Jacobs’s behavior.
President Joe Biden nominated Garcetti, the co-chair of his 2020 campaign, in July 2021, and then resubmitted his name at the start of the year after the Senate took no action. His nomination finally advanced from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week on a 13-8 vote, with Republicans Todd Young and Bill Hagerty voting for him.
A review led by Senator Chuck Grassley found that Garcetti “likely” knew or should have known that a former aide had committed sexual harassment and made racist comments. A White House spokesman had called the GOP-led report a partisan “hit job.”
“Put simply, the United States needs a confirmed ambassador in India” given the country’s importance, State Department spokesman Ned Price said when asked about the Senate committee vote.
The debate around Garcetti led to an unusual situation Wednesday where Democrats argued against his nomination while a small group of Republicans argued for it. Several Democrats including Mark Kelly of Arizona, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said they wouldn’t support him.
Garcetti “denied the charges, I accept that,” Tennessee’s Hagerty told reporters. “More importantly, I’m dead set that we need to have an ambassador in place in India. We needed an ambassador in New Delhi two years ago, and this is malpractice not to have an ambassador seated there.”
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