Kelly Knight Craft Touted As Next Ambassador To Canada

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Kelly Knight Craft — and not populist conservative fixture Sarah Palin — is now being touted as President Donald Trump’s choice as ambassador to Canada.

Palin was an early favorite for the job because the Trump administration could neither confirm nor deny the possibility.

According to the Globe and Mail, and its sources the U.S. State Department is vetting Kelly Knight Craft, the initial process in securing the appointment. If she passes scrutiny, her name will then come to the Senate for confirmation.

Knight Craft is co-owner of coal giant Alliance Resource Partners with her husband Joe Craft. Both are enthusiastic Trump supporters and have been successful Republican fundraisers.

The White House would not confirm her appointment when asked on Wednesday.

“I do not have any announcements to make at this time,” spokesman Michael Short emailed The Globe and Mail.

Knight Craft was active in Republican politics in her home state of Kentucky in the mid-2000s and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. United Nations delegation in 2007.

She currently runs a business consulting firm and has been influential as a board member of several charities.

In a 2007 interview, Knight Craft said Bush’s 2004 re-election inspired her to become politically active and she was determined to apply the fundraising skills that she had demonstrated with charitable organizations to the political sphere.

She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Lexington and still resides in that city.

While at the UN, Knight Craft said she would emphasize “social, humanitarian and cultural issues,” and factors of interest to children.

“It will be a special honor to be part of the U.S. delegation, especially given the enormous global issues at stake for our country,” she told the Glasgow Daily Times.

As past experience indicates, a U.S. ambassador to Canada with close ties to the current administration in Washington is an asset for both countries. The Trudeau government’s choice for Canadian ambassador to the U.S. was David MacNaughton, who was the victorious campaign co-chair for the Liberal Party during the 2015 election.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador, Bruce Heyman, did not find his selection an easy process. His confirmation process lasted over a year before he was eventually appointed to the job.

All ambassadors appointed by former president Barack Obama resigned before Trump’s  Jan. 20 inauguration on the orders of the new president.

Knight Craft and her husband endorsed Trump’s candidacy for president during the primary season.

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