Los Angeles Times

Garcetti’s bid for ambassador­ship advances

- By Nolan D. McCaskill

WASHINGTON — Eric Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India made incrementa­l progress this week as the former Los Angeles mayor impressed a Republican senator after a private meeting and won over an undecided Democrat.

Garcetti, whose nomination has languished for about a year and a half, drew praise from a key swing vote Tuesday, giving new life to a nomination that has seemed all but dead.

“I had an excellent meeting with Mayor Garcetti yesterday, and I was impressed with his knowledge of India,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate Republican, told The Times in an interview.

A person familiar with Garcetti’s schedule confirmed he was in Washington this week but gave no further details.

President Biden first nominated Garcetti to the post in July 2021, but the exmayor has faced criticism over whether he knew — or should have known — that Rick Jacobs, a senior advisor, was allegedly sexually harassing colleagues and making racist comments.

Jacobs has denied the allegation­s, and Garcetti testified at his confirmati­on hearing in December 2021 that he “never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, the behavior that’s been alleged.”

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa released a 23-page report last year that found it was “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti didn’t know about his aide’s alleged behavior.

“We discussed the allegation­s against his aide and his response to those allegation­s,” Collins said. “I still want to review Sen. Grassley’s report, but I don’t think that ‘should have known’ is a fair standard to use. So I haven’t made a final decision, but I was impressed.”

Collins’ comments come after Punchbowl News reported that Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said she would vote for Garcetti on the floor. Hirono had previously told The Times she was “still contemplat­ing” how she would vote.

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