Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was sworn in Friday as the next US ambassador to India by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Garcetti’s family members were on hand to witness the brief ceremony in Washington, DC.
Garcetti was finally confirmed by the US Senate last week after a nearly two-year process dogged by allegations that he ignored sexual assault and harassment allegations against a former top counsel.
Seven Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for Garcetti in a 52-42 vote, but three fellow Democrats voted against it.
In a post-vote statement, Garcetti said he was “delighted with today’s outcome, which was a decisive, bipartisan decision to fill a critical position that has been vacant for far too long. Now the hard work begins.”
President Joe Biden originally nominated Garcetti for the position on July 9, 2021. After he stalled, Biden renominated him in January.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement that she looks forward to working with Garcetti in his new role.
“I congratulate former Mayor Garcetti on his confirmation to serve as our country’s ambassador to the world’s largest democracy. His ability to strengthen our nation’s position in the world is based on his experience leading a global city, academic background in international affairs, service as a Navy intelligence officer, and the full confidence of the President,” Bass said.
An investigation requested by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last year concluded that Garcetti’s former top aide Rick Jacobs was “more likely than not” to “sexually harass various people and make racist comments toward others.” He also considered it “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti was unaware of the behavior, saying that “by all accounts, Mayor Garcetti is very involved in the day-to-day operation of his office.”
The White House criticized the report, saying in a statement: “This partisan report was a success from the start, and many of the claims have now been conclusively debunked by more serious independent reports. The President trusts Mayor Garcetti and believes that he will be an excellent representative in India at a critical time and asks the Senate to confirm this quickly.”
Garcetti has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Jacobs’s alleged harassing behavior. “I am ready and eager to begin my service representing our critical interests in India,” Garcetti said.