Top Republican Senator places hold on nomination of Garcetti as US envoy to India

WASHINGTON, Mar 11: A top Republican Senator has put a hold on the confirmation of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the country’s envoy to India, pending his own investigation of allegations into sexual allegations, according to a media report.
Investigators in Senator Chuck 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.
Grassley is one of the top Republican senators.
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 US President Joe Biden as the country’s ambassador to India in July last year.
The internal investigation has put on hold the confirmation of Garcetti, resulting in the absence of a top American diplomat’s position vacant in New Delhi at a crucial time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the documents sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, Grassley said that Garcetti may very well be fully qualified, but at this time, the Senate needs to look into these allegations further.
“The United States owes it to the Republic of India to send them a qualified Ambassador that will represent the values of the United States,” Grassley said in the documents sent to McConnell on Thursday to notify the Senate about the hold.
Politico was the first to report this news.
A Grassley aide told the media outlet that the Senator’s staff are connected with one whistleblower.
“Since our initial conversations, we’ve been able to learn more from additional sources which seem to corroborate that the mayor was aware of this activity,” the aide told the media outlet.
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)