President Joe Biden has tapped controversial Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be ambassador to India, the White House has announced.
In a statement responding to his nomination on Friday, Garcetti said he will “always be an Angeleno” and, if he’s confirmed by the Senate, he will “forge partnerships and connections that will help Los Angeles.” He will remain in his position until he is confirmed.
And should I be confirmed, I’ll bring this same energy, commitment, and love for this city to my new role and will forge partnerships and connections that will help strengthen Los Angeles’ place on the world stage.
The mayor’s selection had been predicted for months. He has a previous relationship with the president, having served on his vice presidential selection committee.
If confirmed, Garcetti could leave his position as mayor with more than a year left on his term, which will require the Los Angeles City Council to appoint a caretaker mayor and potentially hold a special election. If no appointment is made or election put into motion, City Council President Nury Martinez will step in as mayor.
Garcetti served on the city council before being elected as mayor in 2013 and then reelected in 2017. Multiple candidates have already expressed interest in taking his office.
His relationship with Biden had many predicting a cabinet position following the 2020 election, but the mayor claimed in December that he turned down the possibility, feeling he needed to lead during the pandemic in Los Angeles.
“I let them know early this week that my city needs me now, and that I want to be here, and that I need to be here,” he said at the time.
The city of Los Angeles is still facing numerous hurdles and has only recently rolled back pandemic restrictions, which were far more aggressively enforced than in many other parts of the country.
Homelessness in Los Angeles remains a serious problem, with the city’s unemployment rate hovering around 10%, which puts it above the state and national levels.
Garcetti is best known among his supporters for raising the minimum wage as mayor, supporting causes like Black Lives Matter and pushing for a sizable increase in the California tax credit.
He became especially controversial during the pandemic, with critics branding him a hypocrite in the heat of the city’s shutdown, as local officials permitted many film and television productions to continue working while shutting down bars and restaurants.
Garcetti’s pandemic actions will likely be broached during his confirmation hearing, and he could also face questioning about Rick Jacobs, a former advisor accused of sexual harassment by someone on the mayor’s team. A lawsuit claims Garcetti witnessed the harassment and top staffers were aware of the issue, though the mayor has denied this.
Others have since come forward to claim inappropriate behavior by Jacobs and described a pressure to keep silent on complaints, including former communications director Naomi Seligman, who said this week in a deposition that the mayor and top administration officials were aware of complaints about Jacob’s alleged conduct.
Naomi Seligman, the former communications director for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, testified that Garcetti staffers made comments to her over the past year that she took to mean that she should remain silent about Jacobs’ behavior. https://t.co/AelNttSdqe
Plenty of critics took to social media to blast Garcetti and celebrate him potentially leaving Los Angeles, with some saying he ruined the city and others citing the Jacobs accusations.
Hating Eric Garcetti is the glue that binds LA
Eric Garcetti not only failed to make Los Angeles a city for all, build housing for homeless residents or improve transit, he also oversaw an era that saw wealth inequality skyrocket and housing become more unaffordable than it has ever been. https://t.co/KwIkR9u7DZ
It’s been a week of brutal headlines for Garcetti here in LA—most prominently, how he knew about sexual harrassment inside his office and nobody did anything—and so Biden picks today to name him ambassador to India lol
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