Cindy McCain and Ted Kennedy's Widow Confirmed as Biden Ambassadors

Also confirmed on Tuesday were Republican former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and former New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall

Cindy Mccaine and Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Photo: getty (2)

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed four of President Joe Biden's nominations for U.S. ambassadorship.

Cindy McCain, widow of the late Sen. John McCain, has been approved to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

"I'm honored to be asked by the president to represent the United States in a global effort to address one of the greatest challenges to human dignity," McCain, 67, tells PEOPLE following her confirmation.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy — the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy — was also confirmed Tuesday to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Austria.

Also confirmed on Tuesday were Republican former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona as the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, and former New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall, who will be the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand.

In her new role, McCain — a key Republican ally for the Biden administration — will focus on addressing poverty, nutrition and development in rural communities.

McCain, who has a history with international aid groups, previously told PEOPLE she was "deeply grateful to be considered for anything," though she noted "I did what I did for my president never expecting anything in return."

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She was referring to her cross-the-aisle support for Biden in November's presidential election when she endorsed him against President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly disparaged her husband.

54th Munich Security Conference
Joe Biden and Cindy McCain in 2018. Andreas Gebert/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

"My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost," she said in a statement at the time. "There's only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden."

Kennedy, also 67, is co-founder and president of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate — a non-partisan non-profit that educates the public about the U.S. Senate — and is senior counsel at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig.

She is also a gun violence prevention advocate, having founded the group Common Sense About Kids and Guns and previously serving on the board of trustees of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Kennedy has known President Biden for years. Her late husband Ted served in the Senate from 1962 until his death in 2009, working alongside Biden in the chamber. Ted was the younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Attorney General and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

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