Before consideration for appointment as U.S. ambassador to India, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti answered questions on the Senate floor, Tuesday.

Garcetti accepted his nomination from President Joe Biden back in July, and on Tuesday shared the floor with Donald Blome, who was nominated for ambassador to Pakistan and Dr. Amy Gutmann, who was nominated for ambassador to Germany.

Before the hearing, Garcetti penned a letter to the U.S. Senate, saying, “Few nations are more vital to the future of American security and prosperity than India. If confirmed, I look forward to building on the work of my predecessors to elevate our partnership to new heights.”

Garcetti was introduced to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Senator Alex Padilla, who said said that Garcetti’s commitment to “issues from climate to human rights will be instrumental in his new role as ambassador to India.”

“India’s a critical partner on the front lines of many of the world’s biggest challenges from COVID, to climate change, to national security,” Padilla said. “Our close cooperation will help support global security, fight the climate crisis and further economic growth.”

The committee highlighted key issues related to India, saying that as ambassador, Garcetti would have to address climate change initiatives, India’s lack of access to electricity, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and “concerns” of India purchasing military hardware from Russia.

“I expect you to be frank with your Indian counterparts, not just on the areas of cooperation, but also on these differences, all of which are bipartisan priorities for this committee” Senator Bob Menendez said. “New Delhi will need to address our concerns if it seeks to deepen our partnership even further. Having you in place in India, Mayor Garcetti, will be critical to advance U.S. interest on these issues and many others.”

The committee also asked about allegations that Garcetti was aware of sexual harassment occurring within Los Angeles City Hall.

The allegations came against Garcetti’s former advisor Rick Jacobs who was accused of inappropriate touching by several men in 2020, according to a report  by the L.A. Times.

Garcetti cut ties with Jacobs, but is still accused of knowing what had been happening.

“Simply said… harassment and discrimination have no place in the workplace, no place in our society and I have zero tolerance for that,” Garcetti said. “In regards to this specific case, I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, the behavior that’s been alleged. I also want to assure you that if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that.”

Additional questions will be given to the nominees, with a hearing to consider pending nominations expected in the coming days.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly