President Donald Trump said on Friday he was nominating Kelly Craft, currently the U.S. ambassador to Canada, to replace Nikki Haley as his envoy to the United Nations after a four-month search, ONAreports quoting Reuters.
Craft, a top Republican donor from Kentucky, rose this week as a serious contender for the post based on a recommendation by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentuckian.
Craft will not hold a Cabinet-level position, as Haley did, a senior White House official said, after Trump decided to downgrade the post. Regardless, she will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
“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,” Trump said in a tweet announcing his decision.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Craft “extremely well-qualified” and an “outstanding advocate for America’s national security and economic interests in Canada.”
Craft met with Trump, Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton in the Oval Office on Friday, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
She was seen as a tough negotiator in a new U.S. trade deal with Canada and Mexico and as ambassador to Canada established decent working relationships with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the source said.
If confirmed, Craft will have the difficult job of defending Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and navigating Trump’s criticism of the world body while getting global diplomats to back U.S. policies.
French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said he looked forward to working with Craft if she was confirmed by the Senate.
“I hope that Ms Craft will continue, like Nikki Haley, to be a bridge between Washington, DC and the U.N. at a time when we more than ever need an America that is engaged with the U.N. in world affairs and committed to our shared values, beginning with human rights,” Delattre said.