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Senate confirms anti-Trump Republicans Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake to envoy posts

Wife of late senator John McCain will serve as US ambassador to UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture; former Arizona senator will serve as ambassador to Turkey

(L-R) Then Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. participates in an interview at a forum held by the The Atlantic in Washington on Oct. 2, 2018 and Cindy McCain, wife of former Arizona Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd after being acknowledged by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey during his State of the State address in Phoenix on Jan. 13, 2020. (Composite/AP)
(L-R) Then Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. participates in an interview at a forum held by the The Atlantic in Washington on Oct. 2, 2018 and Cindy McCain, wife of former Arizona Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd after being acknowledged by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey during his State of the State address in Phoenix on Jan. 13, 2020. (Composite/AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed two prominent anti-Trump Republicans to serve in the Biden administration on Tuesday with former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona approved to serve as the ambassador to Turkey and Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain, approved to serve as the ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

The Senate also voted to confirm former Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico to serve as ambassador to New Zealand and Victoria Reggie Kennedy of Massachusetts, the widow of former Sen. Ted Kennedy, to serve as ambassador to Austria.

The nominations were approved through voice vote, a process taking only minutes that can be used so long as no senators object. Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are requiring the vast majority of Biden’s other State Department nominees to go through a much more extensive and time-consuming process.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., thanked senators for acting quickly on the four nominations, but said he remains concerned about the overall pace of confirmations for the president’s diplomatic corps.

“There are dozens of countries where there is no confirmed American ambassador, and I hope that this moment of progress will be a predictor of other progress to come soon,” Coons said.

Flake was a rare critic of former President Donald Trump among Senate Republicans. He served just one term in the Senate, opting not to seek reelection in the face of what was certain to be a difficult GOP primary.

McCain endorsed Biden in the presidential election, which at the time was viewed as possibly helping Biden broaden his appeal to Republicans and independents in Arizona, a crucial swing state that her husband had represented in Congress for 35 years.

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