Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would support the appointment of Jeff Flake as U.S. ambassador to Turkey after meeting with Flake on Tuesday.
“My friend Jeff Flake is a thoughtful and accomplished public servant who will represent the United States well in a complex region of the world,” Romney said in a statement to Deseret News. “He understands the importance of defending American interests in Turkey, and I look forward to supporting his appointment when she comes to the Senate.”
When her appointment was announced by the Biden administration in July, the former Republican senator from Arizona wrote that she reaffirmed “the best tradition in American foreign policy and diplomacy: the credo that partisan politics must. stop at the water’s edge. American foreign policy can and should be bipartisan.
Flake also stressed the “strategic importance” of the relationship between the United States and Turkey at the time.
Turkey faces a lot of criticism from the United States, including from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, DN.J., who said last month that autocratic President Recep Tayyip’s Turkey Erdogan is not attached to the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Erdogan has been in power since 2014, and a Human Rights Watch report earlier this year found that he had used the pandemic to strengthen power with measures such as banning protests and censoring social media.
Flake, who represented Arizona in the House from 2001 to 2013 and in the Senate from 2013 to 2019, is one of two Arizona Republicans solicited by President Joe Biden for an ambassadorial role in his administration. Biden has also appointed Cindy McCain as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations food and agriculture agencies. Flake and McCain both endorsed Biden in 2020, and he narrowly won Arizona.
Candidates found confirmations to be slow in coming, with just two confirmed last month, in Mexico and at the United Nations. This is far behind the pace of ambassadors under previous presidents, including former President Donald Trump, who had 19 ambassadors confirmed by the same point in his presidency.
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold hearings with candidates including former Senator Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, who has been appointed US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, as well as candidates for be ambassadors to Israel, Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, Ghana and Botswana.
There are currently no hearings for Flake on the committee’s publicly available schedule.