It seems as if Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s parents should have spent their money on a retirement cruise rather than a lobbyist for their son.
With Congress out until after the November election, the already dim likelihood that Garcetti will be confirmed as the ambassador to India is now approaching its vanishing point.
Since his nomination, Garcetti has been plagued by allegations he knew or really really really definitely should have known that his top advisor and political henchman Rick Jacobs was (allegedly) a serial, indiscriminate sexual harasser whose targets included city employees, other Garcetti aides, and on and on.
In his single Senate confirmation hearing last December, Garcetti explicitly denied having knowledge of Jacobs’ activity or ever having been made aware of the allegations, stating “I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, the behavior that’s been alleged, and I also want to assure you if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that.”
That claim was met with – at best – incredulity and – at worst – fury by a number of members of the Mayor’s inner circle and/or entourage, leading the mayor’s former communications director, Naomi Seligman, to file perjury complaints against Garcetti with numerous law enforcement agencies and government boards and commissions.
In response, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley placed a “hold” on the nomination pending further review of the matter. In May, Grassley’s office released its report stating that the “frequency and conspicuous nature” of Jacobs’ actions made it extremely unlikely Garcetti was unaware of them, meaning he most likely lied to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, was already facing an uphill battle to be able to convince all of his fellow Democrats – let alone any Republican – to commit to voting for Garcetti’s confirmation as ambassador; the Grassley report seemed to take Schumer’s difficult task and transmogrify it into a labor even Hercules would have blanched at. (For a more detailed look, see “Wither Eric?, and “Sen. Grassley Investigation Finds Mayor Garcetti Aware of Sexual Misconduct by Senior Advisor.”
The Biden White House has said it remains committed to Garcetti, though that may be political-speak for “please go away quietly and maybe we’ll make you Special Advisor for Sidewalk Environmental Equity and Bicyclist Diversity.”
While the quietly part may not be on the table, the going-away and being given a “naan-entity” administration gig part is currently the most likely scenario. Read this for Garcetti’s status as a “Beta” male – especially since one of his underlings has already managed to get herself a State Department spot.
The Senate is currently on a break until after the election and the odds that the existing 50-50 tie will be broken in favor of the Democrats is – like Garcetti’s chances of moving to India – exceedingly slim. A Democrat loss in the Senate, however, does leave open – theoretically – the possibility that those Senators who have been afraid that approving Garcetti’s nomination would at least appear to be, if not in fact actually be, the height of hypocrisy considering the party’s very public stance on issues such as sexual harassment could relent and decide to give him the job (with Kamala breaking the tie).
If that “lame duck” confirmation scenario does not pan out – and odds are very very good it will not – the Biden administration would have to formally re-nominate Garcetti for the job next year (bills and actions and appointments and such that originate in one session of Congress and fail have to be re-submitted and go back to square one in the process.)
Considering the likelihood that it will be a Republican-controlled Senate come January – and that the whole matter has been a cesspoolly distraction for the administration – the chances of a re-nomination are infinitesimal times an order of magnitude usually associated with the distances to other galaxies. And if Biden does re-nominate while facing a Republican Senate, those odds – if physically possible – only get even worse. So he won’t.
The most likely scenario for Garcetti is that his nomination will not be withdrawn but will not go forward, a “pocket veto,” as it were, to allow the administration to save a sliver of face by being able to claim ‘we didn’t pull it – it merely lapsed.” This is, of course, mere wordplay as even though no active decision was made to end the nomination, a decision specifically to NOT take any action WAS made.
So where does that leave Eric? He’ll most likely land on his feet(ish) and not have to apply for one of those $750,000 450-square-foot homeless apartments he is currently building, but his career as an even vaguely important elected official is almost certainly over.
But one never knows – maybe he’ll make those bike lanes sooo green and sooo not sexist he will ride again.