President Trump’s nominee for U.N. Ambassador was criticized for spending a large amount of time away from her current post as ambassador to Canada. Kelly Knight Craft, a longtime Republican Party fundraiser and friend of Sen. Mitch McConnell, does not have the foreign policy experience typical of envoys to the United Nations.
At Craft’s confirmation hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) criticized aspects of Craft’s travel record while she was ambassador to Canada, saying, “You spent an excessive amount of time absent from Ottawa, leaving your duties to deputies. I find the staggering amount of time away from post very troubling and an abdication of leadership.”
Menendez brought up that his office had discovered that Craft had spent more than 300 days away from her office between 2017 and 2019, among other instances of prolonged absence from her post. Craft said she would provide Menendez with full records of the times she was away from Ottawa, including State Department approvals of her travel. She defended her travel as part of her role in negotiating the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Craft’s absences were defended by some Senate Republicans such as Marco Rubio, who said that Craft was saving taxpayer money by doing almost all of her travel with her family’s own private jet. The U.S. has not had a permanent ambassador to the United Nations since Nikki Haley stepped down last year.