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Who is Eric Garcetti, the new US ambassador to IndiaOUS News

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The US is over announced his mission to India – Eric Garcetti, former mayor of Los Angeles, took the job more than 2.5 years after his name was first announced for the post.

Garcetti, a Joe Biden loyalist, was seen as one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars until five years ago. However, the final years of his nine-year mayoral reign were marred by scandals, which left him a job in Biden’s cabinet and nearly destroyed his presidential credentials.

Garcetti’s path to New Delhi was all but decided last week, when the US Senate passed a cloture motion on him. A cloture motion is granted when the issue at hand has the support of a large majority, and it limits further debate on the issue by minority members.

Who is Eric Garcetti?

Garcetti’s website says the 52-year-old was raised in the San Fernando Valley and received his BA and MA from Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and London Business School and taught at Occidental University and USC. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve for 12 years and “is an avid jazz photographer and photographer,” the website says. He has one daughter with his wife, Amy Elaine Wakeland.

When he was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 2013 – a post he held until 2012 – he became the youngest mayor in 100 years, and the first Jew to hold that office. Before that, he served as President of the Los Angeles City Council from 2006 to 2012, and as a Councilman of the 13th District before that.

His tenure in Los Angeles was mixed, but had some definite high points, including securing the city as the 2028 Olympic venue.

While he has been praised for adopting a minimum wage of $15, for improving the transit system of Los Angeles and making it more accessible, and for his frequent briefings during the Covid pandemic which many residents find peace, he has been criticized for the homeless crisis in the city. . During the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, he was criticized by the left and the right for his efforts to find a middle ground to calls to “protect the police”. Allegations of corruption in the City Council cast a further shadow on his record.

However, the biggest setback for him came in the form of harassment charges against an aide, whom Garcetti was accused of not acting against.

The Rick Jacobs scandal

In 2020, a lawsuit was filed against Rick Jacobs, Garcetti’s top aide, by police and Garcetti’s bodyguard Matthew Garza. Garza alleged that Jacobs touched her inappropriately and made “indecent sexual comments”. Following this, Jacobs stepped down from his duties. Garcetti has repeatedly insisted that he knew nothing about the alleged misconduct. However, his opponents have accused him of saying that either he knew about the accusation and did not accuse them, or he did not know what was happening in his party.

Fallout of the scandal

As previously reported by The Indian Express, Garcetti is the chairman of Biden’s election campaign and is a key political friend of the president. He was expected to be part of Biden’s cabinet, but the controversy surrounding Jacobs is said to have killed his chances of that.

While his nomination as ambassador to India was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January last year, in March, US Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, suspended it, citing Jacobs’ allegations. A report by Grassley concluded that Garcetti “probably knew or should have known” that Jacobs had sexually assaulted city employees and had also made racist comments.

When a delegation is placed on hold by a committee, it means that the delegation cannot be quickly approved by consensus, which delays the confirmation process. Other Republicans also opposed the nomination.

The White House has called Grassley’s report a “hit job,” but some Democrats still have reservations about Garcetti. When he told the committee at the beginning of the election, he did not bring it to the Senate floor for a full vote.

According to a report from Axios last June, Democrats Richard Blumenthal, senator from Connecticut; Mark Kelly, a junior congressman from Arizona; Kirsten Gillibrand, a junior senator from New York, and Independent Krysten Sinema, a senior senator from Arizona, were not guaranteed affirmative votes. Gillibrand has now said she will support the nomination, “expressing confidence in the review of Garcetti by the foreign relations committee”, CNN reported.

On March 13, Naomi Seligman, former communications director for Garcetti, told CNN, “He is not fit to be a representative or really to hold public office anywhere in this country or this world”, on the Jacobs incident.