It has been more than a year since President Joe Biden nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as ambassador to India.
In the year since, Garcetti’s nomination has devolved into nothing short of a political embarrassment for the Biden Administration. As mayor of a world-renowned city like Los Angeles, Garcetti should be a shoo-in for a position like this, but his incompetence is just staggering.
Most recently, he lied to a Los Angeles Times reporter about the purpose of a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
Asked whether it was “now or never” on his nomination, he responded to reporter Dakota Smith, “The meetings I took, I wasn’t in D.C. on this issue.” He insisted he was there to talk about the pandemic, transportation policy and the recent Summit of the Americas.
But that wasn’t true.
“When Smith pointed out that he also met with the Hispanic Caucus, and told the mayor he wasn’t being truthful, Garcetti walked away,” the Times reported. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus itself announced having met with Garcetti and went out of its way to publicly discredit itself by issuing a statement backing Garcetti’s nomination.
“The mayor was also seen last week in D.C. with Breelyn Pete, a lobbyist hired by Garcetti’s parents, Sukey and Gil Garcetti, to advocate for the mayor’s nomination,” the Times further noted. “The lobbying firm where she works reported Thursday $30,000 in income during the second quarter tied to Garcetti’s parents. The firm lobbied the White House, Senate and House, according to the firm’s filing.”
Meanwhile, the Times also recently found that a report about the city’s COVID response “softened or removed” criticism of how Garcetti handled the pandemic.
For example “a sentence noting that there were complaints from staff at the Emergency Management Department, or EMD, about their work tasks being ‘politically driven’ was removed.” Further, a reference to the observation of “several department leaders who attended Garcetti’s weekly ‘cabinet’ meetings … that the meetings ‘often felt more like dictations rather than discussions’” was removed.
Just add all of this to Garcetti’s greatest hits.
Like the Politico report that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly felt “strong-armed over his refusal to relent on Garcetti’s nomination.” He was reportedly threatened he could be “cut off from donor networks” if he didn’t back Garcetti.
Or the warning from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that, “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 advisor, and that he ignored the misconduct.” A follow-up report found that Garcetti “likely knew or should have known” about such misconduct.
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Last year, columnist Doug McIntyre raised the point that, “Those of us who live in L.A. have additional concerns: Did the mayor also not witness the corruption that’s rampant in the city he runs? For nearly 20 years Garcetti has been in the thick of things, including 12 years on the City Council, six of them as council president.”
Enough is enough. Garcetti should do the decent thing and withdraw from the process. If he can’t muster the integrity to do so, Democratic senators should speak out and make clear Garcetti doesn’t deserve the position.
Sal Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected]