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Biden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports

Biden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports
© Stefani Reynolds

The Biden administration is reportedly in talks with Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiBiden taps former deputy campaign manager for ambassador post The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Jan. 6 commission vote delayed; infrastructure debate lingers into June Biden likely to tap Burns for China ambassador; Nides for Israel MORE (D) on a potential appointment as the U.S. ambassador to India or another top ambassadorship role. 

The conversations were first reported Tuesday by Axios, based on details shared by people familiar with the matter, and two sources later told NBC News about the talks. 

Garcetti, who has served as Los Angeles mayor since 2013, is one of several candidates being considered for the India posting, a person familiar with the matter told Axios. 

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However, the sources noted that no final decision has been made. President Biden is expected to announce his first batch of ambassadorship nominations later this month, Axios reported. 

Garcetti, who endorsed Biden in January 2020 during the Democratic presidential primary, co-chaired Biden’s inaugural committee and was previously among a list of rumored favorites for Transportation secretary before Biden nominated Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE for the role. 

Should Garcetti be nominated for an ambassadorship, the 50-year-old mayor of the country’s second-largest city will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Garcetti's deputy communications director, Alex Comisar, said in a statement to The Hill Wednesday that the reports on the talks were "speculative."

"We aren't going to engage in speculation," Comisar added. "We're 100% focused on ending the COVID pandemic and passing a justice budget for the city." 

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment. 

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The Los Angeles mayor, who considered running for president himself, said at a news conference in December when announcing he would not be joining Biden’s Cabinet, "As the administration reached out to me about serving, I let them know early this week that my city needs me now, and then I want to be here and that I need to be here.” 

Los Angeles currently faces a record level of homelessness, and a court order issued last month demanded the city and county find shelter for unhoused residents of the notorious Skid Row neighborhood that have now spread throughout the city. 

A possible appointment as U.S. ambassador to India comes as the country of more than 1 billion people is facing a record number of COVID-19 infections, with government officials struggling to distribute vaccinations to crowded populations. 

On Tuesday, India became the second country to report a total of 20 million COVID-19 cases. Experts have pointed to a lack of safety restrictions and the rise of a more contagious variant as some of the reasons behind the surge. 

Some countries have announced efforts to aid India in its response to the recent wave, with the Pentagon on Monday saying it would be sending four cargo planes filled with “critical supplies” to the South Asian country.

Updated at 1:45 p.m.