Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), is joining Trump’s State Department as the “U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights”, according to a report by The Daily Beast.
Her appointment was pushed by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who had been impressed by Cindy’s work on humanitarian issues, which Ivanka is focusing on as part of her role as Assistant to the President.
This demonstrates the sheer level of influence Ivanka continues to wield over her father. As a Manhattan socialite, Ivanka is deeply involved with a plethora of metropolitan liberal causes, which appear to be far removed from the concerns of Trump’s disgruntled, working class base. So far, she has sought to push the administration to the left on the environment, feminism, parental leave, refugees, and health care.
The appointment is somewhat surprising, given Senator McCain and President Trump continue to have a tenuous relationship. Sen. McCain, a neoconservative, joined with Democrats in a witch hunt against the administration on its purported, and largely fictitious, connections to Russia, which he recently described as a scandal “of Watergate size and scale”. Sen. McCain has even gone so far as to say “as far as American leadership is concerned”, President Obama was better than Trump.
Just two weeks ago, Sen. McCain criticized Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, for his attempt to establish a backchannel with the Russian government, saying, “I just don’t like it, I just don’t”. Despite the fact Obama had similar backchannels, McCain continued, “I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.”
Cindy joined her husband last year in refusing to support Trump, the then-Republican presidential nominee due to “Trump’s behavior … concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults.” Given Trump’s antipathy for Republicans who chose to undermine their party in 2016, appointing Cindy to a prominent position in a State Department is certainly a odd move.