Kelly Craft

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Kelly Craft
Kelly Knight Craft speaking at Independence Day celebration (43589702801) (cropped).jpg
30th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
September 12, 2019 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyRichard M. Mills Jr.
Preceded byNikki Haley
Succeeded byLinda Thomas-Greenfield
31st United States Ambassador to Canada
In office
October 23, 2017 – August 23, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byBruce Heyman
Succeeded byRichard M. Mills Jr. (acting)
Personal details
Kelly Dawn Guilfoil

(1962-02-24) February 24, 1962 (age 59)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
David Moross
(m. 1986, divorced)
Judson Knight
(m. 1992, divorced)
(m. 2016)
EducationUniversity of Kentucky (BA)

Kelly Dawn Craft (née Guilfoil; born February 24, 1962)[2] is an American businesswoman, political donor, and former diplomat who served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2019 to 2021. Craft previously served as the United States ambassador to Canada, being the first woman to hold the office.[3][4][5] She was appointed by President George W. Bush as a U.S. alternate delegate to the United Nations in 2007, where her focus included U.S. engagement in Africa.[6][7] She was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Kentucky.[6] She headed Kelly G. Knight LLC, a business advisory firm based in Lexington, Kentucky.[8]

She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a vote of 56–34, and was officially sworn in as the United Nations ambassador on September 10, 2019.[9][10] She formally presented her credentials to Secretary-General António Guterres on September 12, 2019.[11][12]

Early life and education[edit]

Craft was born in 1962 in Lexington, Kentucky, the daughter of the late veterinarian Bobby Guilfoil and Sherry Dale Guilfoil.[13][14] Her father was a Democratic Party activist who once served as chairman of the Barren County, Kentucky Democratic Party.[2] She grew up in Glasgow, Kentucky, and graduated from Glasgow High School in 1980.[7][15] She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1984. Craft served on the board of trustees of her alma mater for a term beginning August 2016,[16] but resigned to accept the Canadian ambassadorship a year later.[17]

Political involvement and donations[edit]

In 2004, Craft was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush, who appointed her an alternate delegate to the United Nations in 2007.[18] As part of the delegation, her responsibilities included advising the UN ambassador on US/Africa policy.[16]

Craft has been described as a generous donor to Republican political candidates.[19] In 2016, Craft and her husband donated millions of dollars to candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.[20] Prior to donating more than $2 million to Donald Trump's campaign, the couple supported Marco Rubio.[18] Craft and her husband, Joe Craft, have strongly supported Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.[21] McConnell in turn urged Trump to nominate Craft as ambassador to Canada.[21] The Crafts have "gold"-level membership at Trump hotels, which is for customers who have stayed more than 20 times at Trump hotels; according to the Washington Post.[22]

U.S. ambassador to Canada[edit]

On June 15, 2017, Craft was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the ambassador to Canada. She was confirmed by the United States Senate by voice vote on August 3 and assumed office on October 23.[23]

In her first week as ambassador to Canada, Craft said in an interview with CBC News that when it comes to the scientific consensus on climate change she believes in "both sides of the science."[24][25]

According to a June 2019 report in Politico, Craft was frequently absent from her Ottawa post during her tenure as ambassador.[21] During a 15-month period, she took 128 flights between Ottawa and the United States, the equivalent of a round trip per week.[21] 70 of the trips either had Lexington, Kentucky as the origin or destination of her trips, which raised questions as to whether the trips were for personal reasons.[21] The Trump administration did not provide records of how many days Craft was present in Ottawa; per State Department rules, an ambassador may only spend 26 work days away from a post.[21] She spent 300 days (more than half of her term) absent from her post.[26] Craft does not make her schedules available.[21]

Former Canadian Ambassador to the United States Frank McKenna stated that Craft brought "charm and grace and listening skills" to the ambassadorship and has “done the job very well when at the top, the relationship is as bad as it’s ever been."[27]. Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave her tenure a positive review, saying "Every premier I know thinks the world of her. She really proved herself over some tough times."[28]

U.N. ambassador[edit]

Kelly Craft presents credentials to Antonio Guterres
Craft with U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo in 2020

On February 22, 2019, Trump announced his intention to nominate Craft to replace Nikki Haley, who had resigned the previous year, to be the next United States Ambassador to the United Nations,[29] after his first replacement choice, Heather Nauert, withdrew her nomination.[30] On May 2, 2019, Craft's nomination was formally sent to the United States Senate.[31] On June 19, 2019, a hearing on her nomination was held before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[32] During the hearing Craft said that she would continue to fight what she alleges as anti-Israel bias in the United Nations.[33] Although Craft had previously said during her tenure as ambassador to Canada that she believed there were "good scientists on both sides” of the climate debate, during her confirmation hearing she reversed her position stating that she believed that fossil fuels and human behavior have contributed to climate change. Due to her family's connections to the coal industry she also agreed to recuse herself from any UN discussions involving climate change or coal.[34] On July 25, 2019, her nomination was reported out of committee by a vote of 15–7.[35] On July 30, 2019, the Senate voted 57–33 to invoke cloture on her nomination.[36] On July 31, 2019, her nomination was confirmed by a vote of 56–34.[37] She was formally sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on September 10, 2019.[38][39]

On August 13, 2020, Craft celebrated the announcement of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, calling it “a huge win” for Trump and for the world, saying that the diplomatic ties show “just how hungry for peace we all are in this world,” and how Mideast countries understand the need “to stand firm against a regime that is the number one state sponsor of terrorism”—Iran.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Craft married David S. Moross and then Judson Knight.[18] She wed Joe Craft in April 2016.[41] He is a billionaire coal-mining executive for Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., the third-largest coal producer in the eastern United States.[42][43][44]


  1. ^ Raj, Althia (July 4, 2018). "Kelly Craft Prizes Common Ground, Friends Say. But Life As Trump's Envoy In Ottawa Hasn't Been Easy". HuffPost Canada – via
  2. ^ a b Straehley, Steve; Wallechinsky, David (August 14, 2017). "United States Ambassador to Canada: Who Is Kelly Knight Craft?". AllGov. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Kelly Craft sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Canada". WKYT. August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  4. ^ "Ten Nominations Sent to the Senate Today" (Press release). White House Office of the Press Secretary. June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "PN603 – Kelly Knight Craft – Department of State". U.S. Congress. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Trump nominates Kelly Knight Craft as the next ambassador to Canada". BBC. June 15, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Ellis, Ronnie (September 13, 2007). "Bush nominates Knight for UN". Glasgow Daily Times. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Latek, Tom (June 14, 2017). "Kelly Knight Craft is Trump's pick to serve as US Ambassador to Canada". Kentucky Today. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Ambassador Kelly Craft". United States Mission to the United Nations. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 116th Congress – 1st Session". Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Lederer, Edith M. (September 12, 2019). "New US envoy Kelly Craft says she will be voice for freedom". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ Craft, Ambassador Kelly (September 12, 2019). "Delighted to present my credentials to Secretary-General @antonioguterres as the new U.S. representative to the @UN. Looking forward to an ambitious agenda at the United Nations, working in partnership with member states toward a safer, more prosperous". @USAmbUN. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  13. ^ "President Trump nominates Kelly Knight Craft, Kentucky native, as next UN Ambassador". WDKY. Sinclair Broadcast Group. February 22, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  14. ^ "Dr. Bobby Austin Guilfoil's Obituary on Lexington Herald-Leader". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  15. ^ Canada. "Trump's ambassador pick sends GOP power couple to Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Board of Trustees Members – Kelly Knight Craft". University of Kentucky. Archived from the original on July 19, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Eads, Morgan (October 17, 2017). "Bevin appoints new member to UK Board of Trustees". Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c Campbell, Meagan (October 24, 2017). "Why Kelly Knight Craft was made U.S. ambassador to Canada". Maclean's.
  19. ^ "Republican fundraiser Kelly Knight Craft to be new U.S. ambassador to Canada". CBC News. June 14, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017. Last June, Bloomberg reported that Trump promised he would keep two top Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, in their leadership posts – a key factor in the Crafts' decision to raise money for the then presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
  20. ^ Ling, Justin (March 1, 2017). "Trump's pick for Canada: Kelly Knight Craft is the billionaire Republican donor tapped to be the next U.S. ambassador". Vice News. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017. Only a fraction of that money ended up in Trump's campaign. The pair initially supported Marco Rubio, but also contributed to the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Gardner, Lauren (June 17, 2019). "Trump's U.N. nominee was 'absent' ambassador". POLITICO. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "Trump announces nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to be ambassador to United Nations". The Washington Post. 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "PN603 – Kelly Knight Craft – Department of State". Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  24. ^ "New U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft says she believes 'both sides' of climate science". CBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  25. ^ Anapol, Avery (October 24, 2017). "US ambassador to Canada believes 'both sides' of climate science". TheHill. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  26. ^ Borger, Julian (June 19, 2019). "Trump's UN pick under fire for spending 300 days away from current post". The Guardian. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  27. ^ b
  28. ^
  29. ^ Craft, Stephen (February 21, 2019). "Trump picks envoy to Canada Kelly Craft for U.N. ambassador". Reuters. Reuters.
  30. ^ "Ex-Fox News anchor Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration as UN ambassador". CNBC. February 16, 2019. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  31. ^ The White House (May 2, 2019). "Seven Nominations Sent to the Senate". The White House. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  32. ^ Testimony, Download. "Nominations | United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations".
  33. ^ "Trump's pick for UN envoy says she'll fight anti-Israel bias". Times of Israel. January 21, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  34. ^ Kirby, Jen (July 31, 2019). "The Senate confirms Kelly Craft as the new UN ambassador". Vox. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  35. ^ Gardner, Lauren (July 25, 2019). "Senate panel endorses Kelly Craft as U.N. envoy". Politico.
  36. ^ "On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture: Kelly Craft to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations and Representative to the Security Council), United States Senate". July 30, 2019.
  37. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation: Kelly Craft, of Kentucky, to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations and Representative to the Security Council), United States Senate". July 31, 2019.
  38. ^ "Ambassador Kelly Craft".
  39. ^ "Senate confirms Kelly Craft as US ambassador to UN". AP NEWS. July 31, 2019.
  40. ^ The Latest: US envoy: UAE-Israel deal ‘huge win’ for Trump. 13 August 2020. WTOP News. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  41. ^ Bevin, Matt [@mattbevin] (April 29, 2016). "Congratulations to my friends Kelly Knight and Joe Craft on their wedding day!" (Tweet). Retrieved June 18, 2017 – via Twitter.
  42. ^ Barton, Rosemary; Harris, Kathleen; Zimonjic, Peter (October 23, 2017). "New U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft says she believes 'both sides' of climate science". CBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  43. ^ "Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. Announces Acquisition of Coal Supply Agreements from Affiliate of Patriot Coal Corporation". Business Wire. January 2, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  44. ^ Eder, Steve; Tabuchi, Hiroko; Lipton, Eric (June 2, 2018). "A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt's Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 3, 2018.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Bruce Heyman
United States Ambassador to Canada
Succeeded by
Richard M. Mills Jr.
Preceded by
Nikki Haley
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Succeeded by
Linda Thomas-Greenfield