Garcetti India concert hits another iceberg

Just days before he was due to testify a second time before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is now facing another delay in his appointment as ambassador to India.

On Friday afternoon, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) suspended the nomination of Garcetti and six other troubled diplomatic nominations from the Biden administration.

“One of these candidates (Garcetti) ignored credible allegations of sexual harassment in his previous post,” Rubio said. “Another has done legal work with solar panel companies in Xinjiang, where egregious human rights violations are committed. The list (see below) also includes an anti-abortion extremist, a person with no diplomatic or investment experience, and a person who supported a policy of cooperation with Cuba’s murderous dictatorship. I will not turn a blind eye to these absurd candidates that will hasten America’s decline.”

Biden originally nominated Garcetti to the post almost 600 days ago and renominated him in January after he failed to even pass a floor vote in the previous session of Congress.

Garcetti’s nomination was troubled from the start by his implausible denial of any knowledge of alleged gross sexual harassment by friend, fundraiser and political henchman Rick Jacobs.

A number of other former Garcetti employees have rightly accused Jacobs of aggressive caresses, unwanted kisses, and racist comments (for a deeper dive into the details, see here -.) Despite this being made public, Biden nominated Garcetti for the post, although he reportedly conceded it to other administrative posts.

Garcetti previously testified to a Senate committee that he was not even aware of the allegations against Jacobs, let alone his actions. This testimony was met with considerable skepticism and, along with new information provided by a number of whistleblowers, prompted an investigation by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R). The investigation found that Garcetti’s testimony before the committee was almost certainly false, leading Grassley to speak on the Senate floor about his unyielding opposition to Garcetti.

“There is no place for sexual harassment or racism. Mayor Garcetti has had countless opportunities over the years to stand up for victims by removing his top deputy chief of staff, which he has not done,” Grassley said in December. “These fundamental failures of Garcetti are incompatible with the position he aspires to.”

The whistleblowers, appropriately, were aided by Whistleblower Aid, “a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit legal organization that supports individuals who legitimately report violations of state and corporate laws.”

“The detention of Senator Rubio sheds light on why the appointment of Eric Garcetti has already created an unprecedented two-year vacancy in New Delhi. Garcetti’s clear track record of allowing sexual harassment in Los Angeles City Hall and his attempts to force the US Senate to ignore these failures disqualifies,” Whistleblower Aid CEO Libby Liu said. “The Committee needs to know that the last time they questioned Garcetti about what he knew about sexual harassment in his office, he perjured himself in an attempt to avoid responsibility and advance his candidacy. This bad faith is in itself grounds for the Committee to stop the nomination.”

Garcetti’s candidacy is opposed not only by Republicans in the Senate, but also by a number of Democrats who, both publicly and privately, have expressed serious doubts about Garcetti’s chances and his suitability for the position.

“If he had votes at any moment, he would have already been approved,” Liu said. “I think it’s long overdue for the Senate to send a clear message from the administration that a new candidate is urgently needed.”

It is not yet clear if Garcetti will testify on Tuesday.

As noted above, Rubio also put Biden on hold:

  • Richard Verma has been appointed Under Secretary of State for Management and Resources.
  • Michael Ratney, nominated for the post of US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, against whose candidacy Rubio had previously voted.
  • Felice Gorodo, nominated for the post of Deputy Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development of the United States, whose candidacy Rubio had previously voted against.
  • Richard Weiner, nominated for the post of director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of the United States, whose candidacy Rubio had previously voted against.
  • Leopoldo Martínez Nucete, appointed chief executive of the US Inter-American Development Bank, whom Rubio had previously voted against. AND,
  • Geeta Rao Gupta, appointed Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Affairs, whom Rubio had previously voted against.

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