President Donald Trump said he intends to nominate Kelly Craft to be his ambassador to the United Nations, filling a marquee diplomatic post that’s been vacant since the end of 2018.
Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, is Trump’s second pick to replace Nikki Haley, who served in the role during the first two years of the administration.
Heather Nauert former State Department spokeswoman, withdrew from consideration in mid-February after the White House learned that she previously employed an immigrant nanny who entered the country legally but was not authorized to work.
She and her husband, billionaire coal mining magnate Joe Craft, backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primaries before ultimately supporting Trump and giving $750,000 to Future 45, a super-PAC led by Joe Ricketts and Sheldon Adelson.
Craft was an active supporter of President George W. Bush, who in 2007 appointed her a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
McConnell spoke to Trump on Wednesday about Craft. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump also supported Craft as the nominee. “Kelly Craft is a strong advocate for American interests and will be a powerful representative of our great nation at the U.N.,” McConnell said in a statement.
Trump chose Craft after also considering Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Dina Powell; his ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell; and John James, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Michigan, according to people familiar with the matter. Top White House aides had also discussed nominating Ivanka Trump if no frontrunner emerged.
Craft had previously served in leadership roles in organizations including the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, the Salvation Army of Lexington and the Kentucky Arts Council.
She is a Kentucky native, has been the U.S. ambassador in Ottawa since October 2017 during a turbulent period in U.S.-Canada relations. She was the first woman to fill the post, and helped re-negotiate the Nafta trade accord.