After his first candidate for the position withdrew from consideration, President Donald Trump nominated Kelly Craft as the new UN ambassador. According to The Washington Post, Craft is currently the U.S. ambassador to Canada, as well as a major Republican donor. If Craft is confirmed by the Senate, she will succeed Nikki Haley to become the new U.S. ambassador to the UN.
“I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft, our current Ambassador to Canada, is being nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level. Congratulations to Kelly and her entire family!”
Trump's first pick for the job was State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, CNN reported, but she withdrew from consideration last week, saying it would be in her family's best interest to do so. After Nauert pulled out of the running, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recommended Craft for the position, per USA Today. The president was also reportedly considering Dina Powell, a former deputy national security adviser, and Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, before nominating Craft for the job.
In response to Craft's nomination, McConnell lauded Trump for making "an exceptional choice for this critical post" and described Craft as a "strong advocate for American interests." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also applauded Craft's nomination in a statement, The Hill reported, arguing that she "has been an outstanding advocate for America’s national security and economic interests in Canada and she is extremely well-qualified to do the same at the United Nations."
However, Craft's nomination has already been met with some scrutiny, with some critics arguing that she has a conflict of interest. According to The Washington Post, Craft's husband is the president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners — a coal producer — and the couple reportedly donated $270,800 to committees backing Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. They have also stayed at Trump's D.C. hotel on multiple occasions, and are considered high-paying, VIP customers at that hotel, per The Washington Post.
Craft has also faced some criticism in the past for her comments about climate change. Shortly into her tenure as the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Craft told CBC that she believed scientists on "both sides" of climate change.
“Well, I think that both sides have, you know, their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science,” Craft said in 2017.
As Vox pointed out, however, scientists agree that humans contribute to climate change — meaning that it is not actually a "both sides" issue. Nevertheless, Trump himself has dismissed climate change as a hoax on numerous occasions.
Craft has served as the U.S. ambassador to Canada since October 2017, per The Hill, and in 2007, she served as an alternate delegate to the UN General Assembly under former President George W. Bush. If Craft is confirmed by the Senate, the UN ambassadorship will therefore not be her first foray into diplomacy.