Who Is Kelly Craft, Frontrunner for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations?

February 22, 2019, 4:10 PM UTC

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft is emerging as the frontrunner to replace U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who resigned in December.

Craft as a UN contender comes after State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name over the weekend as Haley’s successor.

A Kentucky native, Craft is backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also from the Bluegrass State, and she has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as national security advisor John Bolton. However, President Donald Trump—who makes the decision—is reportedly considering Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and former Senate candidate John James of Michigan.

Ambassador to Canada since August 2017, Craft has public and private sector experience. She’s served on several boards in Kentucky, including the Center for Rural Development and the Salvation Army of Lexington, according to her State Department biography. Craft co-founded the Morehead State University Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics and founded a marketing and business advisory firm.

Craft and her husband, Joe Craft, are among the biggest Republican financial donors in Kentucky.

Craft was previously a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN General Assembly under President George W. Bush. She also has personal ties to McConnell—she is friends with his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.