A powerful Republican Senator has lifted the “hold” on the Senate confirmation of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has been nominated by US President Joe Biden as the country’s next ambassador to India.
In a notice to the Senate on March 10, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley had said that he intended to object to Garcetti’s nomination to be the Ambassador to India.
“I will object because I have received numerous credible allegations from multiple whistleblowers alleging that Mr. 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,” according to Senator Grassley.
“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,” the Senator had said.
Garcetti, 51, has been the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, California’s largest and America’s second-largest city, since 2013.
“Following the completion of the investigation, Grassley is lifting his hold on the nomination. However, based on what he has learned, Grassley intends to vote ‘no’ if the nomination is considered by the full Senate,” a statement issued by the Senator’s Office said on Tuesday.
Last year, US President Biden nominated Garcetti, his close political associate, as his envoy to India.
Following the nomination, the American media reported that Garcetti was aware of allegations of misconduct by a former senior advisor.
Grassley made the findings public, and his office said: “Throughout the investigation, Grassley’s staff made multiple offers to speak with Garcetti. However, Garcetti’s staff did not schedule a discussion”.
On Tuesday, Grassley’s office said the review comprises interviews with 15 witnesses as well as examinations of 26 depositions and other documentary evidence, including e-mails and text messages.
“Grassley’s investigative staff concluded 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 nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” it said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Garcetti would replace Kenneth Juster, who served as India’s Ambassador to the US during the Trump administration.
After being nominated, the mayor said that he was honoured to accept the nomination and will bring the same energy, commitment and love with which he served the sprawling city to his new role in the world’s largest democracy.
He has travelled several times to India, most recently as a councilman.
In college, he spent a year studying Hindi and Urdu.
“It’s the largest democracy in the world, soon to be the most populous country in the world, one of the top handful of superpowers in the world,” Garcetti had said.
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