Team Biden eyes McCain, Flake as ambassadors

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain at the U.S. Capitol during Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony./Courtesy: Jeff Flake twitter

By Margaret Talev, Hans Nichols | Axios

Biden administration officials are weighing nominating prominent Republicans to ambassadorships — including Cindy McCain and former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake — to highlight the importance of bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy, according to people familiar with their thoughts.

Why it matters: President Biden hasn’t put any Republicans in his Cabinet, but a move like this would symbolize a return to the Truman-era adage that partisan politics stops “at the water’s edge.”

It also would signal to other nations the Trump era is over, and Biden speaks for all Americans, not just Democrats.

In addition, the potential nominations of two Arizona Republicans who clashed with former President Trump and endorsed Biden could boost Democrats, signaling a big-tent approach in a once-red state the new president won by some 10,000 votes.

Biden aides say it’s premature to discuss either name, and no decisions have been made about ambassadorships.

What we are hearing: McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, has been discussed for the United Kingdom, while Flake has been mentioned for South Africa, as well as postings in Europe.

 Competition for plum ambassadorships, especially in Western Europe, will be intense, with Biden officials already hinting they won’t appoint as many donors as previous presidents.


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February 2021