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Former GOP Senator Jeff Flake tapped to be ambassador to Turkey

President Biden is tapping former Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a vocal opponent of former President Trump, to be ambassador to Turkey, a White House official confirmed Tuesday.

Flake was one of the prominent Republicans who endorsed Mr. Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The Arizona Republican served on both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his time in Congress. He is now a fellow at Arizona State University and a fellow at the Sorensen Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership at Brigham Young University.

“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. “This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries. Cheryl and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve, and eager to get to know the extraordinary people of Turkey.”

Flake continued to say that, “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.”

When Flake endorsed Biden in August 2020, he said that with Mr. Biden as president, “we will be able to preserve the civic space wherein Republicans and Democrats can go back to merely disagreeing about issues of policy, without fear of revenge or reprisal.”  

“That day cannot come soon enough,” Flake said in a speech at the time. “And so, it is because of my conservatism, and because of my belief in the Constitution, and in the separation of power, and because I am gravely concerned about the conduct and behavior of our current president that I stand here today — proudly and wholeheartedly — to endorse Joe Biden to be our next president of the United States of America.”

After leaving office in 2019, Flake served as a contributor to CBS News. 

CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.


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