Romney says he’ll support Flake’s nomination to be ambassador to Turkey
Sen. Mitt Romney called former Sen. Jeff Flake a “thoughtful and accomplished public servant” after the two met Tuesday.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he’ll support the nomination of Jeff Flake as U.S. ambassador to Turkey after meeting with Flake 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 standing for U.S. interests in Turkey, and I look forward to supporting his nomination when it comes before the Senate.”
When his nomination was announced by the Biden administration in July, the former Republican senator from Arizona wrote that it reaffirmed “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.”
Flake also emphasized the “strategic importance” of the U.S. relationship with Turkey at the time.
Turkey faces plenty of criticism from the U.S., including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who said last month that Turkey under autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t committed to principles of democracy and rule of law. Erdogan has been in power since 2014, and a report from Human Rights Watch earlier this year found he has used the pandemic to strengthen power with measures like banning demonstrations and censoring social media.
Flake, who represented Arizona in the House from 2001 to 2013 and Senate from 2013 to 2019, is one of two Arizona Republicans tapped by President Joe Biden for a role as ambassador in his administration. Biden also nominated Cindy McCain for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Both Flake and McCain endorsed Biden in 2020, and he narrowly won Arizona.
Nominees have found confirmations slow in coming, with just two confirmed as of last month, to Mexico and the United Nations. That’s far behind the pace of ambassadors under past recent 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 nominees including former Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, who’s been nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, as well as nominees to be ambassadors to Israel, Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, Ghana and Botswana.
There is currently no hearing for Flake listed on the committee’s publicly available schedule.