Friday, July 12, 2024

Biden Re-Nominates Former L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti For Ambassadorship, Despite Harassment Scandal

Not even a month after signing the Sound Out Act, legislation designed to protect victims of sexual assault or harassment by disallowing employers from drawing up non-disclosure agreements before any disputes occur, President Biden apparently thinks it’s acceptable now to re-nominate as the United States ambassador to India a man who late last year lost his first bid for the post — over allegations of sexual harassment.

Eric Garcetti, the former Democrat mayor of Los Angeles, was first nominated for the position by Biden in mid-2021 and in the many months since then pushed hard to persuade senators to support his nomination. At one point, his family even hired a lobbying firm to help forward the cause.

But, never scheduled for a vote before the last Congress adjourned, Garcetti’s nomination was hampered from the beginning by accusations his former chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, had a long history of engaging in sexually harassing behavior that included making inappropriate comments, initiating unwanted kissing and touching, making sexual advances toward a member of the mayor’s police detail, a married male reporter and a number of others. Meanwhile, Garcetti was suspected of not only knowing about but enabling Jacobs’ behavior and then telling senators he didn’t know anything at all about the alleged harassment — a claim others of his staff roundly criticized
As more details surfaced about Jacobs’ abusive past, senators from both sides of the aisle admitted concerns about the nomination.

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, opened an investigation with his office conducting interviews with 15 witnesses and examining 26 depositions and other documented evidence, including emails and text messages. As a result, Grassley’s investigative staff concluded Garcetti “likely knew, or should have known, that his former senior advisor was sexually harassing and making racist remarks toward multiple individuals.”

Despite attempts by Garcetti and the Biden administration to explain away the complaints as a political hit job, “some of the individuals who’ve come forward and shed light on the misconduct are from Mayor Garcetti’s own staff,” Grassley said.

“Nobody is that brazen to engage in this type of outrageous behavior against other people unless they know that they have a powerful enabler protecting them. Based on the facts and the evidence, that enabler is Mayor Eric Garcetti,” said Grassley, who added he thinks Garcetti is unfit for the ambassadorship.

Nonetheless, the President has thrown Garcetti’s name back into the arena for consideration as America’s envoy to India.

“He is well qualified — Mayor Garcetti — to serve in this vital role,” White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre said earlier this week. “And we’re hopeful that the full Senate will confirm him promptly.”

Critics suggest the President feels more confident Garcetti’s nomination and other agenda items will pass, now that Democrats hold a 51-seat majority in the Senate.

The previous Senate did, in fact, approve a dozen or so other ambassadorships in December from a list submitted by the Biden Administration.

Garcetti will have to start the nomination process all over again, including facing  the same Senate committee he allegedly lied to, although the committee could decide to pass on that and opt instead to use testimony from his previous appearance.

“Continuing to push this nominee after signing [the Sound Out Act] into law is the very definition of tone deafness,” Grassley said in a report by Fox News Digital.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “the Biden administration is sending a message to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace that they’ll only be believed when politically convenient.”