Biden considering LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for ambassador to India

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President Biden is considering naming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to a high-profile ambassadorship, possibly India, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The potential exit of the Democratic executive for the nation’s second-largest city would come as L.A. faces record homelessness and a court order to find shelter for a massive Skid Row population by the end of September. It could further destabilize California politics amid a recall attempt against Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat.

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The big picture: Garcetti was a co-chair of Biden’s campaign and remains a key political ally. India, with 1.4 billion people, is the world’s most populous democracy — giving its political and economic future outsized stakes.

  • The Biden administration has signaled India will play a key role in helping to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • In March, the president held his first virtual leader’s summit with members of the so-called Quad, including Japan, India, Australia and the United States, to underscore his commitment to the region’s democracies.

  • India is currently in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 20 million cases, and the true death toll is believed to greatly exceed an official count of 220,000+.

Details: Garcetti, 50, is one of several candidates under consideration for the India posting, a person familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

  • While lists of potential ambassadors were first presented to Biden in March, the sources said many final decisions have not been made.

  • The president is expected to announce his first political nominations for ambassadorships this month, rewarding donors and political allies who are not career Foreign Services Officers.

  • When Biden does release his picks, it will be a roadmap to the true players in his orbit.

Flashback: Garcetti mulled running for president himself. He passed and then announced in December he also would not be joining the Biden administration.

  • “As the 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.

  • 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 dimmed amid a sexual harassment lawsuit against one of his former aides, brought by a longtime bodyguard.

  • After the election in November, Black Lives Matter demonstrators protested outside his house, demanding Biden not give him an appointment.

  • A Garcetti spokesman declined to comment.

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