• Thursday, December 08, 2022

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Biden believes Garcetti will be an ‘excellent representative’ to India

FILE PHOTO: Joe Biden (L) with Eric Garcetti at a campaign event at United Firefighters of Los Angeles City on January 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

US President Joe Biden has confidence in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and believes that he will be an “excellent representative” of the country in India, the White House has said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki exuded confidence that the Senate would soon confirm Garcetti’s nomination, which has been put on hold by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

“He (Grassley) can’t actually prevent a vote from moving forward on the floor. I mean, he can convey his opposition, as is the right of any Senator. But Mayor Garcetti is out of committee, and we’re hoping to see a vote on the Senate floor soon,” she said.

“It is critical, of course, that we have confirmed leadership at all of our embassies, including India, and we urge the Senate to confirm him as quickly as possible.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Garcetti, 51, would replace Kenneth Juster, who served as the US Ambassador to India during the previous Trump administration. Garcetti was nominated by Biden in July last year.

Eric Garcetti
Eric Garcetti (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a notice to the Senate on March 10, Grassley said he intends to object Garcetti’s nomination to be the US Ambassador to India.

“I will object because I have received numerous credible allegations from multiple whistleblowers alleging that Garcetti, while mayor of Los Angeles, had knowledge of sexual harassment and assaults allegedly committed against multiple city employees and their associates by his close adviser and that he ignored the misconduct,” Grassley said.

Investigators in Senator Grassley’s office are probing what Garcetti knew of longtime political adviser and City Hall confidant Rick Jacobs’ inappropriate behaviour towards women and men in and around City Hall, the Politico newspaper reported earlier this month.

“The allegations involving the mayor’s office have been the subject of public reporting and a purportedly independent investigation. However, serious questions remain regarding the alleged misconduct, as well as the mayor’s knowledge of that misconduct,” he said.

“First, whistleblowers who have spoken with my office have not previously spoken to the Foreign Relations Committee and are presenting new allegations that must be fully investigated. Second, the investigation of the Los Angeles mayor’s office reportedly found no wrongdoing by the mayor or his staff,” said the top Republican Senator from Iowa.

“However, the information provided by multiple whistleblowers strongly suggests that this investigation was incomplete at best. The extent to which the investigation was truly independent is also not clear, and the report has not been made public,” he said.

Grassley added: “The US owes it to the Republic of India to send them a qualified Ambassador that will represent the values of the US. Mayor Garcetti may very well be fully qualified, but at this time, the Senate needs to look into these allegations further.”

Garcetti, who has been the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles since 2013, has travelled several times to India, most recently as a councilman. In college, he spent a year studying Hindi and Urdu.

A Rhodes Scholar, he studied at Queen’s College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Garcetti was selected as an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society and taught at Occidental College’s Department of Diplomacy and World Affairs, as well as at the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations.

(PTI)

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