President Biden on Tuesday nominated former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to be his ambassador to Turkey, a high-profile post for the outspoken anti-Trump lawmaker.
Mr. Flake spent more than a decade in the House and then moved onto the Senate where he openly criticized former President Trump until he decided not to run for reelection in 2018. He repeatedly blasted the former president for actions ranging from the firing of former FBI Director James Comey to Mr. Trump’s criticism of the media.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden had placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination,” Mr. Flake wrote in a post on Medium. “This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries.”
He supported Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump in the 2020 election and was widely expected to be rewarded with a post in administration. He served as a Republican surrogate for Mr. Biden during the election.
A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Flake currently holds fellowship roles at Arizona State University and Brigham Young University. He also serves on the senior advisory committee at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
The Ankara assignment is a delicate one, as tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have risen in recent years on issues ranging from the treatment of Syrian Kurds to turkey’s military relationship with Russia.. Mr. Biden stoked some of that ire earlier this year by formally recognizing the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, which occurred more than 100 years ago.