In a move that could be seen as equal parts futile and cruel, the Biden Administration has announced that it plans to re-nominate former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for the Ambassadorship to India.
The administration said they have confidence in Garcetti and he will be an “excellent representative to India…” Currently, Charges d’Affaire Elizabeth Jones – a career foreign service officer – is the United States top diplomat in India.
But the chance Garcetti actually gets the opportunity to prove his excellence in India remains unlikely as essentially the same Senators who fled in terror from the Garcetti “bandwagon” are still in the Senate post November’s mid-term elections.
Garcetti was initially nominated more than 18 months ago, made one appearance in front of a Senate committee, and then ran into an iceberg of his own creation – almost certainly lying about the activities of his political fixer/hitman/reason Eric got to be mayor Rick Jacobs.
Briefly, Jacobs was, allegedly, a serial aggressive sexual harasser and was known to make actually racist comments on a regular basis. Garcetti claimed not only that he was unaware of Jacobs’ egregious behavior but also that he had never even heard about the problem, a claim he made in front of the Senate committee.
And a claim that brought howls of protest from a number of people – including Garcetti former staffers – familiar with the situation. The nomination was put on hold while Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley conducted an investigation into the charges made by numerous whistleblowers, found that Garcetti had almost certainly lied to the Senate about the issue, and in December Grassley made a scathing speech about Garcetti, saying essentially he was unfit for the position.
The administration blasted the Grassley report as a “partisan report was a hit job from the beginning.” This claim, however, flies in the face that almost all of the people who have come forward to tell of Jacobs’ behavior and question Garcetti’s honesty are, in fact, Democrats.
It should be noted the Senate did approve a dozen or so ambassadorships in December from a list – from Botswana to Brazil – submitted by the Biden Administration. Garcetti, it seems, was not on that “end-of-the-year clean-up” list.
When he is formally re-nominated later this month, Garcetti will have to start from square one and may have to face the same Senate committee he allegedly lied to again (the committee could decide to pass on that, essentially re-using his previous appearance.)
He will have to convince senators – leery of the political ramifications of approving someone who allegedly ignored/covered-up/lied about, etc. astonishing sexually aggressive behavior – he could not convince in the last 18 months to vote for him this time. How he will do that is, at best, opaque – for example, if he modifies his “recollection” of Jacobs’ behavior to mollify the Senate, he could open himself up to other legal problems (a lawsuit in which he has already been deposed upon under oath against the city based on the Jacobs affair is set for trial later this month.)
It should be noted that figure skating Olympian turned Democrat party activist Michelle Kwan ambassadorship to Belize took only eight months – a far more typical timeframe – to approve.
Finally, there are twenty pending ambassadorial nominations – of those, only Garcetti’s nomination was in 2021. The rest were nominated in 2022, and most of those only last summer or fall.
Have fun, Eric.
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