Arizona’s Cindy McCain reportedly considered for ambassadorship

Cindy McCain, the widow of longtime Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain, is reported to be among those being considered for an ambassador position by President Joe Biden.

McCain, who holds a legacy of her own in the state as a businesswoman, philanthropist and humanitarian, told the national media last week that she would willingly accept a post if the president offers it. 

“In whatever way he sees fit, I would be proud and honored to serve,” McCain told CNN. 

Cindy McCain

McCain is reportedly being considered for U.S. ambassador to the World Food Program, (WFP), the food assistance branch of the United Nations. 

Since 1962, the WFP has been fighting hunger and famine since 1962. Right now, it is taking on its largest scale-up ever in response to COVID-19, providing meals to 109 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in more than 80 countries this year.

Continuing tradition as independent thinker

Cindy McCain is a lifelong Republican, but she endorsed Democrat Biden during his campaign. 

At the time, McCain said that she and her late husband put “country first” and she supported Biden for several reasons, including his promise to find common ground between the two parties. That was a theme of her husband, who died in August 2018.

Longtime friends with the Bidens 

The McCains were longtime friends with the Bidens even when the two were senators sparring on opposite sides in the U.S. Senate. 

Another well-known Republican from Arizona, former senators Jeff Flake, is also reportedly under consideration for an envoy position. Flake also endorsed Biden during his 2020 campaign. 

Honored for work on behalf of those living under difficult circumstances

McCain has become a beacon worldwide for those living under the most difficult circumstances. Earlier this year, she received the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s highest award, the Heritage Award, which honors those who have helped not only Arizona but the world beyond.

McCain’s work includes creating worldwide awareness about human trafficking. She has flown to the far reaches of the “worst areas of the world” to help those trapped in poverty, suffering from life threatening health conditions, or held hostage in human trafficking rings. 

She has traveled to places like Rwanda, the East Congo and Bangladesh, the country where she adopted her daughter Bridget, whose severe cleft palate was a threat to her life. Nursing Bridget through multiple surgeries motivated McCain to work with Operation Smile. The charity provides free facial surgeries for cleft palates, cleft lips and other malformations. 

Reaching out to war-torn and disaster areas 

In 1988, McCain founded the American Voluntary Medical Team to send medical personnel to disaster-stricken and war-torn developing world countries.  

She has traveled the world to help with the removal of landmines, sent medical supplies to devastated communities, promoted early childhood brain development, and advocated for injured veterans through her involvement with charities like the Eastern Congo Initiative, CARE, HALO Trust, Project C.U.R.E., Too Small to Fail, and Warriors and Quiet Waters. 

Putting an end to human trafficking

McCain has also brought great attention in Arizona, the nation and the world to the plight of women and children who are victims of human trafficking. 

She chairs the Human Trafficking Advisory Council for the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Through her work, new laws have been passed and community initiatives jump started. 

Bringing civility to politics and the internet 

McCain also is carrying on her husband’s wish to bring back civil discourse to politics and the internet through the McCain Institute.

The think tank was founded in 2012 with Arizona State University to “advance leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom, and human dignity, in the United States and around the world.”

“There’s more that unites us than divides us and we should respect our common heritage,” she said. 

Chair of one of nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributors 

McCain also is an Arizona businesswoman. Her parents, Marguerite and Jim Hensley, began to grow the Hensley brand when they first brought cold beer to the state in the 1950s.

Today, she is on the board of trustees of her late father’s enterprise, the Hensley Beverage Company, one of the nation’s largest distributors of Anheuser-Busch.

McCain, who has lived all her life in Arizona, has appeared on national news shows and other outlets in recent months, including The View and People magazine, which last month published an excerpt from her new book, “Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor in My Life with John McCain.”

If the ambassadorship does not happen, McCain said she has plenty to keep her busy. 

“Right now, I’m concentrating on three and a half grandbabies —we have another one on the way —and my work on and human trafficking and human rights’ violations.”

Victoria Harker

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