President Joe Biden is considering naming Los Angeles, California, Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti to a high-profile ambassadorship, possibly India, people familiar with the matter reported Axios.
Garcetti was a co-chair of Biden’s campaign and remains a key political ally.
Garcetti, 50, is one of several candidates under consideration for the India posting, even though he announced in December he would not be joining the Biden administration, a person familiar with the discussions told Axios.
“As the (Biden) 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,” he said during a news conference, reported Axios.
If chosen, he would head up U.S. relations with India, a country with 1.4 billion people, and the world’s most populous democracy. The Biden administration has signaled India will play a key role in helping to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, reported Axios.
Biden is expected to reward donors and political allies who are not career foreign service officers when he announces his first political nominations for ambassadorships later this month.
L.A. currently faces record homelessness and is under court order to find shelter for a massive skid row population by the end of September.
Garcetti’s potential exit from the nation’s second-largest city could further destabilize California politics as a recall attempt against Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, remains pending.
Garcetti won reelection in March of 2017 for a five-and-a-half-year term. He is term-limited, and the election for his successor is scheduled for Fall 2022.
Garcetti’s Cabinet prospects faded with the attention of a sexual harassment lawsuit against one of his former aides, Rick Jacobs, brought by a longtime bodyguard, Matthew Garza.
The allegations received more attention after journalist Yashar Ali reported about his own experience of being repeatedly forcibly kissed by Jacobs when Ali was working in California politics. Ali also reported that Garcetti was aware of other potential misconduct by Jacobs, reported Axios.
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