On Friday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio put a hold on former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to serve as U.S. ambassador to India. Garcetti is expected to go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Rubio is a member, next week.
Garcetti was first nominated back in July 2021, and was renominated last month by the Biden Administration.
“The Biden Administration has nominated questionable individuals to multiple posts as representatives of the U.S. government,” Rubio’s statement announcing a list of nominees he is holding reads. “One of these nominees has ignored credible sexual assault accusations in his prior office…I will not turn a blind eye to these absurd nominations, which will hasten America’s decline.”
This is not the first time this happened. Last year, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, put a hold on Garcetti’s nomination. On May 5, 2022, Sen. Grassley released a report on Garcetti’s awareness of alleged sexual misconduct by his right-hand man. The report found, “that Garcetti likely knew, or should have known, that his former senior advisor was sexually harassing and making racist remarks toward multiple individuals. These findings contradict Garcetti’s testimony at a nominations hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
These finding are no doubt part of the reason why Garcetti’s nomination has continued to stall, despite Garcetti’s parents shelling out money on lobbyists to get their son the nomination. According to Politico, this lobbying effort included a botched attempt at pressuring Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly to support Garcetti’s nomination.
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In response to Sen. Rubio’s hold, the nonprofit group Whistleblower Aid issued a statement applauding the hold. “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 in a statement. “It is disappointing that the Administration continues to put Garcetti’s ambitions ahead of the vital U.S.-India relationship, which would be better served by a qualified nominee with a clear record of ethical leadership and relevant diplomatic expertise.”
That is absolutely correct.
Eric Garcetti, as I have written before, was an utter disaster as mayor of Los Angeles. From homelessness to rampant corruption in city government, the city of Los Angeles lost a decade of progress with him as mayor. Garcetti once upon a time had the delusion that he had done such a great job in Los Angeles that he should be president. He snapped out of it, though, backed Joe Biden and years later is still hoping he gets his political reward in the form of an ambassadorship.
The United States deserves better. The people of India deserve better.
Sal Rodriguez can be reached at email@example.com