Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's nomination as U.S. ambassador to India is falling in doubt as Democrats have started to raise concerns privately, Politico reports.
Garcetti's nomination was first stalled by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both of Iowa, when they put holds on the nomination over his claimed lack of knowledge of sexual assault and harassment allegations against one of his top advisers.
Now, Democrats have concerns about Garcetti's truthfulness as well, and if all 50 Republicans vote against him, Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote.
Though the White House has continued to express confidence in Garcetti's confirmation, a State Department official still joined a meeting on Friday of Senate Democratic chiefs of staff in an effort to ease Democrats' fears, Politico reported, citing a person in the room.
No Democrats have publicly opposed Garcetti, but Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is among those who have privately expressed doubts, Politico reported.
An aide to Sinema earlier this month said in an email reviewed by Politico that the senator was engaged in Garcetti's nomination, but was concerned about it. The aide said that Simema had not made a decision on Garcetti.
"As she does with all nominees, Kyrsten is doing her due diligence and thoughtfully evaluating the nomination based on her three criteria: whether or not he is professionally qualified, believes in the mission of the agency, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law," Hannah Hurley, Sinema’s spokesperson, told Politico.
Republicans want an independent investigation before voting on the nomination; without that, they can't be expected to cross over, they say.
At the Friday meeting, a State Department staff member repeated Garcetti's public statements that he was unaware of the accusations against his former adviser Rick Jacobs, according to Politico. The staff member also said it is vital to confirm Garcetti soon so the U.S. can begin engaging India about Russia's war on Ukraine.
Garcetti has made the same arguments in public statements.
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