Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to India is in jeopardy after a Senate investigation concluded this week that he “more likely than not” knew about sexual harassment by one of his aides.
Rick Jacobs, a key assistant to the mayor, was accused of sexual harassment in 2020, and sued by a police officer who said Jacobs touched him inappropriately. Journalist Yashar Ali reported that he, too, and others had been harassed, and that Garcetti had done nothing.
The controversy seemed to fade, as Garcetti, who was first elected in 2013, enjoyed untouchable political status, having been reelected in 2017 with over 80% of the vote.
But the Rhodes scholar and Navy veteran faced increasing criticism for a growing homeless population, and he was targeted by the Black Lives Matter movement at an early stage. He tried to appease the left in 2020 by cutting police funding by more than 10%, which was followed by a massive surge in crime.
Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election offered a convenient exit for Garcetti, who had been one of the president-elect’s first supporters in the election. Left-wing activists demanded that Garcetti be excluded from the Cabinet, so the ambassadorship offered a politically palatable option. But while Garcetti sailed through his confirmation hearings, he faced skepticism from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who placed a hold on the nomination, followed by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who joined him.
Amid growing concern that Garcetti lacked the votes to be confirmed, Senate oversight staff conducted an investigation. Garcetti refused to cooperate, as did a dozen other witnesses, including Jacobs himself. The report concluded:
Based on information obtained by Committee investigators, it is more probable than not that Mr. Jacobs sexually harassed multiple individuals, and made racist comments towards others. Based on witness testimony, this behavior was pervasive, widespread, and notorious. Several individuals told investigators that Mayor Garcetti was aware of this behavior, and based on the reported frequency and conspicuous nature of the conduct, it is more likely than not that Mayor Garcetti either had personal knowledge of the sexual harassment or should have been aware of it.
The conclusion is all but certain to end Garcetti’s nomination, as well as future ambitions for higher office. The New York Times notes that Garcetti’s stumbles have left the Biden administration without an ambassador to India at a key moment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.