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Cindy McCain addresses potential State Department role, says she won’t leave state

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PHOENIX — Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, addressed reports on Friday that she is expected to be offered a prominent role in the Trump administration’s State Department.

During an interview, McCain did not definitively say whether she would accept a potential position or not, but said she has “no intention of leaving my state.”

After the discussions first came to light on Thursday, there was a possibility that McCain could serve as an ambassador-at-large in Washington, focusing on a specific issue such as human trafficking.

McCain, a philanthropist and global humanitarian activist, has been a vocal advocate for victims of human trafficking for several years.

No matter what role she was offered, McCain said she would “always continue, no matter what I’m doing, to work on this issue in this state, in a major way. I have no intention of leaving my state.”

But McCain admitted during the interview on Friday that she does not really know what the potential role would be.

“I hope it’s Ambassador to Fiji! That’s what I hope, that’s where I want to go,” McCain said in between laughs. “I don’t know, I don’t know anything about it, but I’ll let you know when I do.”

Placing McCain in a State Department role would elevate the spouse of one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest and most respected Republican critics on foreign policy, potentially diffusing tensions between Trump’s administration and foreign policy conservatives.

It could also strengthen ties between the State Department and Capitol Hill as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushes sweeping cuts to the agency amid opposition from many lawmakers in Congress.

But when asked if a potential role in the White House could impact her husband’s relationship with Trump, McCain responded with a flat-out no.

“My role has never affected my husband, on anything. My husband is his own man,” McCain said.

McCain, who gained public prominence during her husband’s White House run, chairs the board of Hensley Beverage Company, a major beer distributor founded by her father.

She serves as co-chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council, part of the governor’s office, and has worked on human trafficking issues through Arizona State University’s McCain Institute. She also has served on boards of several nonprofit groups promoting the well-being of children around the world.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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