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Biden to nominate former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake to be ambassador to Turkey

Flake, a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump, crossed party lines to endorse Joe Biden in last year's election.
Sen. Jeff Flake speaks in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 1, 2018.
Jeff Flake, then a Republican senator from Arizona, speaks in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 1, 2018.Charles Krupa / AP file

Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona, is President Joe Biden's pick to be the U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

"Given the strategic importance of the United States' relationship with our long-time NATO Ally, the Republic of Turkey, I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination. This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries," Flake wrote Tuesday in a post on Medium.

A Biden administration official confirmed that Biden plans to nominate Flake.

Flake, a frequent critic and target of former President Donald Trump when he was in office, endorsed Biden last year ahead of the Republican National Convention. At the time, he cited Trump's insistence that the only way he would lose the election would be if it were rigged as a reason for his decision.

"What kind of president talks like that?" Flake said then. "What kind of American leader undermines confidence in the elections in his own country?"

In his post Tuesday, Flake said Biden's intention to nominate him "reaffirms 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," he wrote. "That is my belief as well, and my commitment."

Flake is the second Arizona Republican whom Biden has nominated to a prestigious post. Biden nominated Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, to be the U.S. representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Like Flake, Cindy McCain crossed party lines to endorse Biden.

The White House also plans to nominate Kent Logsdon, a career member of the senior foreign service, to be the ambassador to Moldova, the Biden official said.