Senate confirms Craft as ambassador to United Nations
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[August 01, 2019]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on
Wednesday confirmed Kelly Craft, a Republican donor who is currently
ambassador to Canada, as ambassador to the United Nations, despite
opposition from Democrats who criticized President Donald Trump's
nominee as too inexperienced for the post.
The Senate backed Craft by a vote of 56 to 34, largely along party
lines, moving to end seven months without a permanent U.S. envoy to the
U.N. ambassador is one of several high-level positions in the Trump
administration held for months by temporary appointees as the White
House struggles to deal with a chronic, high turnover of top
The Senate last week confirmed Army Secretary Mark Esper, a former
lobbyist, as secretary of defense, ending a record seven-month period in
which the Pentagon lacked a permanent top official.
This week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats announced his
Trump nominated Craft, 57, for the U.N. post after a recommendation from
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents her
home state of Kentucky.
She had faced fierce opposition from some Democrats.
Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations
Committee, accused Craft of lacking the "seriousness and
professionalism" for the post at the world body.
Craft, the wife of a billionaire coal industry executive, generated
controversy shortly after assuming her post in Ottawa by telling
Canadian Broadcasting she believed "both sides" of the climate change
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U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft takes part in a meeting with
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Trudeau's office on
Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 3, 2017.
REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo
However, she acknowledged during her confirmation hearing that
climate change is a global threat and pledged to recuse herself from
any U.N. talks on the issue involving coal because of her husband's
Menendez on Wednesday released a report that said Craft spent the
majority of her time as ambassador to Canada outside of the country.
Craft's backers called her a tough negotiator on a trade deal with
Canada and Mexico who had established decent working relationships
with both Republicans and Democrats.
Craft will have the difficult job of defending Trump's "America
First" foreign policy and navigating his criticism of the United
Nations while getting global diplomats to back U.S. policies.
Trump's first U.N. ambassador, former South Carolina Governor Nikki
Haley, announced her resignation in October and left the position at
the end of last year.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill
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