Eric Garcetti's nomination for ambassador to India was met with Republican protests that led to it “withering on the vine,” but now Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.) are the latest Senate members to speak out against the nomination. The reason for this is the accusations that he allowed sexual harassment to occur within his office, but the Biden nominee has denied the allegations.
On Wednesday, Kelly's spokesperson, Jacob Peters, told the Arizona Republic that the senator “has concerns about this nomination based on the serious allegations raised by whistleblowers and is continuing to evaluate it.”
Blumenthal, a former state attorney general, stated to Axios on Wednesday that “I have concerns because I've seen and heard about the allegations… I want to put them to rest, if that's possible, before I vote.” He added that he will be speaking with several of his colleagues but hasn't made “any final conclusion.”
The two main Republican opponents whom Garcetti is fighting are two Iowa senators: Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
A prominent Garcetti advisor, Rick Jacobs, has faced numerous accusations of sexual harassment, including allegations made by an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department that was assigned to the mayor’s detail, Matthew Garza, who has filed a lawsuit against the city over the claim as well as his one-time spokesperson, Naomi Seligman.
Grassley recently stated that his nomination would need to wait until he could go through the 310-page report of the incident, which is supposed to clear the way for him. This month, The Los Angeles Times reported that the mayor’s office turned over the “nonpublic, city-ordered report into allegations of sexual harassment in his office to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee” prior to the committee’s vote on Garcetti’s nomination in January. However, Grassley has also stated that the city's investigation “was incomplete at best.”
Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have also said that they'd be interested in reviewing Garcetti's credentials prior to deciding on a vote. Garcetti will require the support of at least 50 senators in the upper chamber, which is evenly divided, in order to be confirmed as ambassador.