McCain, Flake face light questioning in chummy confirmation hearing

McCain, whose late husband, John, served more than 30 years in the Senate, and Flake, who served on Foreign Relations, have been nominated to be ambassadors to the United Nations food programs and to Turkey, respectively.

By Genesis Sandoval | Cronkite News

It was supposed to be a confirmation hearing for Cindy McCain and former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, but their appearance Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sounded more like a family reunion at times.

McCain, whose late husband, John, served more than 30 years in the Senate, and Flake, who served on Foreign Relations, have been nominated to be ambassadors to the United Nations food programs and to Turkey, respectively.

They are also prominent never-Trump Republicans, who clashed with Donald Trump in 2016 and publicly endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020. But questions at the two-hour hearing tended more toward policy than politics, when they were not reminiscing about their histories with the nominees and the late senator.

“I can assure you when Cindy McCain shows up in a room anywhere in the world people already know her, they respect her,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a longtime friend of the McCains. “She would be a great face for America.”

Even the praise came in for praise: When Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced Flake as an “honorable man, as a principled public servant,” committee chairman Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., called it a “great, grand show of bipartisanship at a time that is difficult to achieve it here.”

But senators did press Flake on how he plans to hold Turkey to account as ambassador while working to mend the frayed relationship with a country that had been a reliable ally.

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