Washington, Jan 4: US President Joe Biden has re-nominated Eric Garcetti, the former mayor of Los Angeles, as the next ambassador to India, sending back the nomination to the US Senate whose Foreign Relations Committee, which clears all ambassadorial appointments, had sent it back to the White House a year ago.
The White House announced Garcetti’s renomination along with a bunch of others on Tuesday, the first day of the new Congress, which included two Indian Americans - Anjali Chaturvedi, to be General Counsel, Department of Veterans; and Ravi Chaudhary, to be Assistant Secretary of the Air Force.
Biden had first nominated Garcetti, once a rising star in the Democratic party, in July 2021, his first year in the White House. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held his nomination hearing but did not confirm him and his nomination was deemed returned to the White House on January 3, 2022.
No reasons were cited for the failure of his nomination to go through, but Garcetti had faced internal resistance from the Democratic party’s progressives for his alleged soft-handling of sexual harassment allegations against a senior aide.
“I have read with some concern accusations that one of your advisors engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment while employed for you and that you did not respond to those allegations in a way that would have stopped the behaviour,” Jeanne Shaheen, a Democratic senator, had asked Garcetti at his confirmation hearing in December 2021.
Garcetti defended himself saying, “I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed nor was it brought to my attention the behaviour that’s been alleged and I also want to assure that if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that.”
The nomination stalled and was finally deemed returned to the White House. Biden did not return it for a whole year or name a replacement, fueling speculation about the implications of this for the importance for the bilateral relationship for the Biden White House.