July 31, 2019

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Publishes Report on Ambassador Kelly Craft

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today published a Committee Minority Report examining the nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to serve as U.S. Representative to the United Nations. The report lays out the case for Ms. Craft’s nomination to be rejected by the Senate due to her lack of qualifications to lead the U.S. mission to the U.N., her rampant and inexcusable absenteeism while serving as Ambassador to Canada, and potential conflicts of interest.

“The position of U.S. Representative to the United Nations is one of the most important diplomatic posts in our government.  This report identified serious problems with Ambassador Craft and it is imperative that all Senators have a full understanding of her experience, credibility and dependability, or lack thereof, before casting a final vote on her nomination.” said Ranking Member Menendez. “As a firm believer in the strength and power of U.S. diplomacy, I encourage my colleagues to oppose Ambassador Craft’s nomination because she doesn’t have the necessary experience to stand up for American values and promote our national security, and because during her limited diplomatic tenure, her unacceptable absences in Canada were nothing less than a dereliction of duty. Never in our nation’s history have we nominated such a underqualified person to this critical post.”

Published ahead of an expected confirmation vote on Craft’s nomination, the report is based primarily on Craft’s Senate testimony, flight logs, travel records, calendars, and other government documents received and reviewed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at Ranking Member Menendez’s request, as well as public reports about her time in Ottawa.

“While any administration is entitled to select the representative of their choosing, the Senate must carefully administer its constitutional duty to advise and consent on such nominees,” states the report. “This includes a thorough examination of a nominee’s background, as well as specific experience and skillset. In this case, Ambassador Kelly Craft’s qualifications fall short: she does not have the knowledge, skills, qualifications, or experience to successfully lead the United States’ efforts at the United Nations.

A copy of the full report can be found here

Report Key Findings 

Unqualified

  • Inexperienced: Previous U.S. Representatives to the UN have had deep and proven experience—they were former senators and governors, accomplished scholars and diplomats, and included a former Supreme Court justice.
  • Before she was confirmed to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, her only professional experience was running a small marketing consulting firm, Kelly G. Knight LLC, and her only prior foreign policy experience was serving for one session as an alternate U.S. delegate to the UN, a largely ceremonial role.
  • Unknowledgeable: At her confirmation hearing, Craft displayed a lack of depth on basic foreign policy issues at her nomination hearing, Ambassador Craft displayed a lack of depth on key foreign policy issues. When asked about the two-state solution, which has been the cornerstone of U.S. policy concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for years, she could not articulate a coherent or succinct viewpoint. On others, such as Iran, she merely repeated talking points, instead of engaging on the issues.
  • Outmatched: Craft’s lack of diplomatic or substantive policy experience, combined with lackluster responses at her nomination hearing show that she does not possess the credentials to forcefully represent and defend U.S. national interests and values against the Russians, Chinese, and others who seek to undermine democracy and human rights around the world.

Absent from Post

As Ambassador to Canada, Craft had one job: to represent the United States on the ground in Canada. Yet Craft was absent from Canada for over half of her tenure:

  • Half her time away from Canada: Craft spent 357 days out of Canada (more than 58% of her tenure). Despite Craft’s representations that her travel was due to USMCA negotiations, only a fraction (40 days) were due to USMCA meetings.
  • Spent seven months at homes in Kentucky and Oklahoma: Craft spent 210 days (7 months) in Kentucky or Oklahoma, where she and her spouse have homes.
  • Traveled without State Department approval: Although Craft said that she always requested and received approval for her travel, records show that she spent at least 11 days out of Canada without Department approval, including repeated unapproved extensions.
  • Equivalent of one month in the Trump Hotel: During her trips to Washington D.C., Craft stayed in the Trump International Hotel for at least 29 days.

Failed to Exercise Diligence in Avoiding Conflicts

  • Included spouse in official meetings with U.S. and Canadian energy business officials: Joe Craft, who heads the second-largest coal company in the Eastern United States and has vast oil and mineral interests, attended energy and environmental meetings with U.S. and Canadian government officials, along with Craft in her capacity as ambassador.
  • Elicited spouse to contact U.S. environmental officials for government business: When she received a request for information from Canadian officials, Craft had her husband connect her with top officials at the EPA, including Administrator Scott Pruitt. Craft refused to answer whether her spouse was included on any official State Department communications involving energy or environment matters.
  • Doesn’t know full extent of spouse’s interests: At her nomination hearing, she said she was “not aware” of the extent of her spouse’s oil and gas interests, providing little confidence that she has taken all necessary steps to avoid potential and actual conflicts of interest.
  • Refuses to recuse from energy-related matters: Ambassador Craft has refused to recuse herself from all matters related to fossil fuels or climate change, despite her spouse’s vast energy interests. At her hearing, she said, “we are still waiting for clarity on the fossil fuels.”

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