Just days before he was set to testify for a second time in front of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is now facing yet another hold on his nomination as ambassador to India.
Friday afternoon, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) placed a hold on the nomination of Garcetti and six other problematic Biden administration diplomatic nominations.
“One of these nominees (Garcetti) has ignored credible sexual assault accusations in his prior office,” Rubio said. “Another has done legal work with solar panel companies in Xinjiang, where egregious human rights abuses are committed. The list (see below) also contains an abortion extremist, someone with no diplomatic or investment experience, and an individual who has supported a policy of engagement with Cuba’s murderous dictatorship. I will not turn a blind eye to these absurd nominations, which will hasten America’s decline.”
Biden originally nominated Garcetti nearly 600 days ago for the post and re-nominated him in January after he failed to even make it to a floor vote in the previous Congressional session.
Garcetti’s nomination was troubled from the beginning by his not-credible denial of any knowledge of the alleged gross sexual misconduct acts of friend, fund raiser, and political henchman Rick Jacobs.
Jacobs has been credibly accused by a number of other former Garcetti staffers of aggressive fondling, unwanted kissing, and racist comments (for a deeper dive into the details, see here – https://laist.com/news/politics/after-harassment-allegations-former-garcetti-advisor-rick-jacobs-got-lucrative-consulting-payments-from-mayors-longtime-ally .) Despite this being public knowledge, Biden nominated Garcetti for the post, though he did, reportedly, pass him over for other administration spots.
Garcetti previously testified to the Senate committee that he was unaware of even the allegations against – let alone the actions – of Jacobs. That testimony was met with significant skepticism and, along with new information presented by a number of whistleblowers, sparked an investigation by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R). The investigation found that Garcetti’s testimony before the committee was almost certainly false, causing Grassley to speak on the Senate floor on his adamantine opposition to Garcetti.
“There is no place for sexual misconduct or racism. Mayor Garcetti had countless opportunities over the years to stand up for victims by removing his chief deputy chief of staff, which he failed to do,” Grassley said in December. “These fundamental failures by Garcetti are incompatible with the office that he seeks.”
The whistleblowers had help from, appropriately enough, Whistleblower Aid, a “non-profit legal organization in Washington, D.C. supporting individuals who lawfully report government and corporate law breaking.”
“Senator Rubio’s hold shines a spotlight on the reasons why Eric Garcetti’s nomination has already created an unprecedented two-year vacancy in New Delhi. The clear record of Garcetti enabling sexual harassment at City Hall in Los Angeles and his attempts to strong-arm the U.S. Senate into overlooking these failures is disqualifying” said Whistleblower Aid CEO Libby Liu. “The Committee should be aware that the last time they questioned Garcetti on his knowledge of sexual harassment in his office, he perjured himself in his attempt to evade accountability and advance his nomination. That bad faith, on its own, is grounds for the Committee to stop the nomination moving forward.”
Garcetti’s nomination is not only opposed by Senate Republicans, but also a number of Democrats who have both publicly and privately expressed grave doubts about Garcetti’s chances and his fitness for the office.
“If he had the votes at any point, he would have been confirmed already,” said Liu. “I think it’s clearly past time the Senate sends a clear message to the administration that a new nominee is urgently needed.”
It is not clear whether or not Garcetti will go ahead with his testimony Tuesday.
As per above, Rubio also placed holds on these other Biden nominations:
- Richard Verma, nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.
- Michael Ratney, nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose nomination Rubio has previously voted against.
- Felice Gorodo, nominated to serve as United States Alternate Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, whose nomination Rubio has previously voted against.
- Richard Weiner, nominated to serve as United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, whose nomination Rubio has previously voted against.
- Leopoldo Martínez Nucete, nominated to serve as United States Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank, whose nomination Rubio has previously voted against. And,
- Geeta Rao Gupta, nominated to serve as Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, whose nomination Rubio has previously voted against.
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