“I’m compelled to vote against Garcetti due to the serious allegations about sexual harassment and racism running rampant in the Los Angeles Mayor’s office,” said Grassley.
By: Melvin Samuel
Influential American Senator Chuck Grassley has opposed the nomination of Eric Garcetti as the US envoy to India because of “serious allegations” of sexual harassment by one of his staffers and urged his senatorial colleagues to do the same.
Grassley’s remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday come amidst the White House intensifying its efforts to have Garcetti confirmed as the US Ambassador to India, a strategic position that has remained vacant for nearly two years now.
With India being the current chair of G-20 resulting in a lot of diplomatic activities between the two countries, the Biden administration wants to have its envoy in New Delhi as soon as possible.
Garcetti, who served as the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles from July 2013 until December 2022, is a close aide of President Joe Biden.
“I would like to express my strong opposition to the nomination of Eric Garcetti to be ambassador to India. I’m compelled to vote against Garcetti due to the serious allegations about sexual harassment and racism to run rampant in the Los Angeles Mayor’s office,” said Grassley, who is serving as the president pro tempore emeritus of the US Senate.
President pro tempore emeritus is the second-highest-ranking official of the Senate, after the vice president.
Grassley told his senatorial colleagues that several credible whistleblowers approached his office about concerning allegations that Garcetti was aware of and enabled his deputy chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, to sexually harass several employees within the Mayor’s office.
“These men and women allege that Rick Jacobs engaged in inappropriate physical conduct (with several employees) without their consent. They allege that Jacobs made crude sexual remarks and gestures toward staff and others. They allege that he made blatantly racist remarks towards Asians and other minorities. These allegations have also been publicly reported in The Los Angeles Times,” said the Republican Senator from Iowa.
Grassley alleged that the Biden administration, by supporting Garcetti, 51, is sending a message to the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace that they are only to be believed when politically convenient.
“As a result, the Biden, administration and all those who support this nomination have no credibility when it comes to protecting victims of sexual harassment,” he said.
Grassley said he and his colleagues have a duty to take such concerning allegations and take it very seriously whether here in the US or abroad.
“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. These fundamental failures by Garcetti are incompatible with the office that he seeks,” he said.
“Therefore, I cannot in good conscience vote for him. I strongly encourage my colleagues to review all the evidence found in my investigative report as well as what’s reported in the press. The facts and the evidence compel me to vote no, and I hope my colleagues will join me in doing the same,” Grassley said.