The White House announced on Friday that President Joe Biden will nominate Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India.
Garcetti has recently faced complications surrounding several allegations coming out of his administration, which could reportedly create complications around his confirmation by the Senate.
As reported by The Washington Post:
A former top aide to Garcetti, Rick Jacobs, has been accused of sexual harassment during his time in the office, and Garcetti’s chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, was suspended in June after mocking labor icon Dolores Huerta.
A Los Angeles police officer is suing the city, saying that Jacobs harassed him and that Garcetti did not stop the behavior. Jacobs has denied the allegations, and Garcetti has said he did not witness any inappropriate behavior.
“Mayor Garcetti has been clear that he takes any allegations of harassment very seriously and has made clear this type of misconduct is unacceptable in his office in any form. He has also said that he never witnessed this behavior nor was told about it prior to the litigation,” a White House spokesperson said Friday before restating Biden’s confidence in his selection, per the Post.
The Los Angeles area struggled during COVID-19 as it faced intense lockdowns which partly resulted in people leaving the city. Under Mayor Garcetti, the homelessness problem in Los Angeles also became more of an issue and he has faced criticism over his inability to combat it.
According to the Los Angeles Almanac, “On June 12, 2020, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority issued its first release of 2020 results from the annual homeless count taken in January. The count revealed a 12.7 percent increase in homelessness for Los Angeles County from 2019 to 2020. The city of Los Angeles saw a 14.2 percent increase.”
As reported by Politico, Garcetti was interested in an ambassador position to Mexico. “He was passed over for several posts in administration, including Transportation secretary, and had been interested in a high-profile post, with one close ally saying he angled for ambassador to Mexico. (Garcetti is half-Mexican and half-Jewish.),” per the outlet.
The White House announced additional nominations for ambassadors, and noted that Garcetti has pushed for climate change initiatives as mayor of Los Angeles. “Garcetti co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 U.S. mayors to adopt the Paris Climate agreement. He is the current Chair of C40 Cities – a network of 97 of the world’s biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organization’s engagement and expansion in India as well as C40’s global response to the COVID pandemic through the sharing of best practices and resources,” the White House noted.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Garcetti “would become the first L.A. mayor to voluntarily leave office before the end of his term in more than a century.”
Garcetti, in a statement about his appointment, said he loves Los Angeles and “will always be an Angeleno.”
“I have committed my life to service — as an activist, as a teacher, as a naval officer, as a public servant, and if confirmed, next as an ambassador,” he said. “Part of that commitment means that when your nation calls, you answer that call.”
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