Sen. Schumer Casts Doubt on Garcetti’s India Ambassadorship

Chuck Schumer admits that Garcetti’s nomination as ambassador to India might be sunk for the time being

It’s been eight months since President Biden officially nominated Eric Garcetti as U.S. ambassador to India, and now the top Democrat in the Senate is admitting that he probably doesn’t have the votes to make it happen for the Los Angeles Mayor.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s legislative team has privately informed his fellow Senate Dems that Garcetti doesn’t currently have 50 votes on their side to be confirmed, Axios reports.

Congressional aides tell the site that New York’s Schumer delivered the message Wednesday through his legislative director during a call with other LDs, indicating that Garcetti won’t likely be getting a floor vote any time soon.

Garcetti’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment from Los Angeles but, in related news, we hear that Garcetti’s longtime Communications Director, Alex Comisar, left the Mayor’s Office last week for a position in the private sector.

Although Garcetti was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley put a hold on the nomination process last month, citing claims that Garcetti ignored allegations of sexual assault and harassment leveled against his former top advisor, Rick Jacobs. Based on the same allegations, Iowa Senate Republican Joni Ernst put a second a second hold on the nomination two weeks later.

As Axios previously reported, Garcetti already has strikes against him among Democrats. Connecticut Senator Rick Blumenthal said on Thursday that the questions around Garcetti had raised “concerns” for him. Also last week, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) joined Sens. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in wanting to review Garcetti’s qualifications for the job.

Grassley told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn’t expect his investigation into the Garcetti allegations to be over by the time the Senate returns from Easter break on April 25.

Garcetti and Jacobs have denied any wrongdoing.

Coming to Garcetti’s defense last week was his chief speechwriter, Becca MacLaren. In correspondence obtained by Politico, MacLaren wrote to California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, disputing sworn testimony from Garcetti’s former Communications Director, Naomi Seligman, that Jacobs had grabbed her and kissed her on the lips in 2016.

“The alleged incident as described by Ms. Seligman in her testimony would have been shockingly inappropriate and extremely unprofessional,” MacLaren wrote. “I would have noticed such behavior. I would not have stayed silent and sought to cover it up. And I would not have forgotten.”

After Garcetti’s nomination got through the Foreign Relations Committee, Seligman told Los Angeles that she was not surprised, adding, “But this is not over. I think there is still time for senators to understand how the mayor witnessed, tolerated, and enabled abuse.”

Responding to MacLaren’s statement Monday, Seligman tells Los Angeles, “A number of Mayor Garcetti’s current subordinates have lied under oath by saying they did not see the persistent abuse in his office. Lying about this one incident is no different—it fits the overall pattern and, like other lies, should disqualify Mayor Garcetti from any pubic office.”

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