Kelly Craft is largely unknown on the global stage. But she’s about to represent U.S. interests at the world’s premier international organization.
CGTN’s Nich Harper reports.
In September 2017, she was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Canada. But she was absent from the post for more than 300 days – around half of her almost 20-month tenure.
Enough to worry some U.S. lawmakers at her confirmation hearing.
“It’s an extraordinary number of absences. The reds describes each day that you were away from post,” U.S Senator Bob Menendez said at her confirmation hearing.
Kelly Craft defended herself and said her travel was approved and related to promoting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
She received her Canadian ambassadorship after donating money, with her husband to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and inaugural committee -totaling over one million dollars. She is a top Republican donor and her billionaire husband Joseph Craft III is CEO and president of a major U.S. coal company, Allied Resources Partners.
One analyst said her experience is limited for the post.
“It seems to me that Kelly Craft given her more limited experience in foreign affairs, coupled with the fact that she comes from a donor background rather than an independent political background, or an expert on foreign policy, is going to limit her ability to be a highly effective UN ambassador,” Michael John Williams, Director of International Relations program at NYU said.
She’ll replace Nikki Haley who stepped down at the end of last year, leaving the position vacant until now. Haley strongly promoted America’s pro-Israel, anti-Iran stance at the UN. While pushing back against Russia and China on issues including Syria and the DPRK.
Craft takes up the position under an administration that has withdrawn from the UN’s Human Rights Council, the cultural body UNESCO and the UN-backed Iran nuclear agreement. But so far, she appears more pro-UN than her predecessor and more of a champion of climate change than Trump.
The Trump administration’s unilateral approach to world affairs doesn’t exactly align with the multilateral ideals of the United Nations.
With September’s U.N. General Assembly fast approaching, Craft will have to decide if she’ll try to balance the two or simply push the President’s agenda.