How Eric Garcetti Avoided Career-Ending Humiliation and Made it to New Delhi

It is because it was. Garcetti’s future in elected big league politics would have drastically diminished had he failed to make it to New Delhi. The 52-year-old Democrat has spent months trying to push back against accusations that he was aware of allegations that a senior official harassed and sexually assaulted fellow office workers and others. On Wednesday, Garcetti was able to advance with the help of seven Republicans, winning Senate confirmation in a 52-42 vote.

Much of the public posturing around the vote has centered around the seat of a senior diplomat in a key geopolitical nation.

For Garcetti and his team – but also to some extent the White House – it was also a matter of survival. Take Eric to India so he can try to put this behind him. That’s why Garcetti returned time and time again to Washington, hiding privately in the offices of the Senate and spending so many days on Capitol Hill while he was still mayor that those close to him began calling it a town hall. satellite. (West Wing Playbook has spotted Garcetti in the White House between meetings with senior officials twice in the past 20 months).

That’s why Garcetti’s parents, Gil and Suki, spent $90,000 of their own money lobbying for him until the end of last year. It’s also why he enlisted dozens of staff to sign petitions, letters and make calls to senators attesting to his character. And that’s why top Biden legislative affairs staffers Louisa Terrell and Reema Dodin, along with Garcetti, rushed in the final hours to secure a few more votes.

“I had the best job imaginable in politics and if I had never had a political job tomorrow, I would die happy,” Garcetti told West Wing Playbook after the vote. At one point, he responded to a congratulatory call from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). “What hurts are untruths and attacks on your reputation. … Your reputation is paramount. That’s all you have. And you better defend it. And the people who believe in you better defend it. And they did.

The problem that nearly ruined his nomination should have been obvious to Garcetti, but his radioactivity was not at first. In his first Senate hearing, Garcetti answered only one question about whether he was aware at the time of the sexual harassment allegations against a top confidant, Rick Jacobs. Garcetti testified under oath that he did not and that he would have acted quickly if he had.

But the campaign against him was so relentless and formidable that it surprised even Garcetti. Former assistants, led by Naomi Seligman, have worked around the clock for much of the past 20 months. They pointed to court testimony and their own experiences with Jacobs and Garcetti to argue that there was no way the mayor didn’t know about it and that he was overseeing an office culture that silenced victims. They met nearly a third of the Senate, winning conservative allies like Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), but were ultimately disappointed by others, namely Democrats who have spoken out over their careers on harassment and sexual assault.

“Yes, we need an ambassador to India,” Seligman said after the vote. “But having the right person is more important than having one person right now. We all knew who Eric Garcetti is. This vote didn’t change that.

Garcetti maintained his lack of knowledge about Jacobs and pointed to members of his office staff and those around him who for years have said the same thing. “There were so many things that were so easy to disprove once people spent time and not just listened to me, but listened to the first-hand witnesses who were there,” Garcetti said. He implied that his detractors were using the Jacobs controversy to humiliate him.

“Other accusations or beefs that people have, I never closed that those should be tried somewhere else,” he said. “But don’t try to entice me just because I have a public name or title.”

A staunch and precocious ally of the president, Garcetti was diplomatic about how long it took senators to hold their votes to the ground. Once the appointment was blocked, he agreed to wait until after the midterms. He also had influential allies willing to be patient, including Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, longtime friends who made calls and got forced votes.

“I can’t tell you how many senators have said I talked to X, Y and Z who went to college with you, the person who married you, the person who runs an organization who has known you for 20 years old, who traveled with you for two or three weeks. That kind of stuff meant a lot to people,” Garcetti said.

As for his political future, he doesn’t deny rumors that he is considering a possible statewide run in California, possibly for governor when Gavin Newsom steps down. Such possibilities, after all, could now be there when he returns.

“I know that every politician has secret plans. My only goal is this work. I want to serve this country and do my best right now,” he said. “I will always come back to LA, but I don’t know if I will run for anything or not.”


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