Senate

Ernst second senator to put ‘hold’ on Garcetti’s ambassadorial nomination

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) indicated that she will be the second senator to place a “hold” on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s (D) nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to India, amid concerns over his handling of sexual harassment claims made against his former chief of staff.

Ernst joins Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who previously held up Garcetti’s nomination over similar concerns, putting another obstacle in President Biden’s path to approval for his nominee. 

Rick Jacobs, Garcetti’s former chief of staff,  was accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit from Matt Garza, a Los Angeles Police Department officer and former bodyguard for Garcetti. Garza also claims that Garcetti was aware of the harassment but did not do anything to stop it from happening.

A report clearing Garcetti of any wrongdoing, commissioned by the city, was given to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January before his nomination was advanced.

Jacobs has denied any wrongdoing and Garcetti told the committee last year that the allegations were never brought to his attention.

But Ernst, a sexual assault survivor, told Axios that she wanted more clarification on the Los Angeles mayor’s handling of sexual harassment claims.

“I want some clarity here. I want to know: Were there sexual harassment issues that came up in the workplace that were not addressed by Garcetti?” the Iowa Republican told the news outlet. “If that’s true, that’s really concerning.”

 

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Ernst referred The Hill to the senator’s comments to Axios.

Politico reported earlier this month that Grassley was placing a hold on Garcetti’s nomination while his office looked into what Garcetti knew about his longtime adviser’s alleged behavior. 

“The president has confidence in Mayor Garcetti and believes he’ll be an excellent representative in India,” a White House official told Axios regarding its nominee.

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

Tags Chuck Grassley Eric Garcetti Joe Biden Joni Ernst

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