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Kelly Craft officially confirmed as US ambassador to UN

Kelly Knight Craft speaking at Independence Day celebration . (US Embassy Canada/Released)
September 10, 2019

The current U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, is set to represent the U.S. on a wider stage as the ambassador to the United Nations.

Craft was set to be sworn in at the White House on Tuesday after a procedural Senate vote of 56-38 to confirm her appointment as the new ambassador to the U.N., following a previous vote on July 31 that confirmed Craft to the U.N. position ahead of the Senate’s summer recess.

Four Democratic senators broke ranks, joining Republicans to confirm Craft’s nomination to the U.N. position.

Craft was confirmed unanimously by the Senate in August 2017 for her previous post as the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

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The opening for an ambassador to the U.N. has remained vacant since Nikki Haley’s departure at the end of 2018, following her October 2018 announcement of her plans to resign. President Donald Trump first placed State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert in consideration for the role in December of 2018.

Nauert reportedly withdrew her nomination, partly due to issues with a nanny that she had once employed. The nanny was believed to be a legal U.S. immigrant but wasn’t authorized to work.

Craft has been waiting to know when she would proceed with the U.N. ambassador appointment since her name appeared on a shortlist of President Donald Trump’s prospective nominees.

Craft had been a previous member to a U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly under President George W. Bush.

She is married to billionaire Joe Craft, the CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, LP,  a major investor of coal, as well as oil and natural gas. Her financial disclosures ahead of her confirmation indicated she had $63 million in oil, gas and coal investments along with coal mining royalties.

At various points during her confirmation process, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey called Craft’s coal connections into question and called on her to recuse herself from U.N. discussions on “coal and or fossil fuels” where conflicts of interests may arise.

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“Where there is the issue of coal and or fossil fuels, I will recuse myself in meetings through the U.N.,” Craft said in answer to Markey’s request during a June round of the confirmation hearings.

In response Markey’s line of questioning about climate issues Craft offered prepared remarks about the Paris Climate Agreement in which she indicated support for President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement, suggesting the deal threatened U.S. jobs and the economy “by assuming an outsized burden on behalf of the rest of the world.”

Following her comments on the Paris Climate Agreement, Markey issued a statement saying Trump had nominated “someone who is so clearly conflicted in her financial interests.”

The Massachusetts senator voted against Craft’s nomination Tuesday.

The U.N. General Assembly is scheduled to convene for its 74th session on Sept. 17. The U.N. will also convene a climate summit as part of its early actions from the start of the session.