Biden to nominate Arizona Republican Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey

Jul 13, 2021, 1:29 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2021, 5:08 am
(AP File Photo)...
(AP File Photo)
(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX – President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he plans to nominate a second Arizona Republican to a post in his administration, with former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake the Democrat’s pick to be ambassador to Turkey.

“Given the strategic importance of the United States’ relationship with our long-time NATO ally, the Republic of Turkey, I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination,” Flake said in a statement.

Last month, Biden announced his intention to nominate Cindy McCain to the position of U.S. representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, with rank of ambassador.

The two Arizona Republican nominees broke with their party to endorse Biden in last year’s election.

The ambassador positions will require confirmation from the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“With this nomination, the Biden administration reaffirms the best tradition of American foreign policy and diplomacy: the credo that partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge. U.S. foreign policy can and should be bipartisan,” Flake said.

“That is my belief as well, and my commitment.”

Flake served in Congress for 18 years, including in the Senate alongside Cindy McCain’s late husband, John McCain, from 2013 until the Arizona political icon’s death in August 2018.

The former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee decided not to seek reelection after one term in the upper chamber.

Even before Biden’s victory last year, Flake was thought to be in line for a possible bipartisan role in the Democrat’s administration.

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate Democrat who won the seat vacated by Flake, expressed her support for his nomination.

“Jeff Flake served Arizona with distinction in both chambers of Congress, where he sought compromise, collaboration, and cooperation,” she said in a statement. “Those skills will serve him and America well as he represents our nation in a part of the world critical to America’s security interests.

“Jeff’s nomination comes at a critical time, when America needs thoughtful statesmanship in Turkey. I look forward to supporting his nomination, and I know he will make us proud.”

Flake, who served in the U.S. House from 2001 to 2013, is a distinguished fellow at Arizona State University and the Sorensen Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership at Brigham Young University. He also is a member of the Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee.

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Biden to nominate Arizona Republican Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey