The White House announced in a statement late Wednesday that Craft had been picked for the post. Maryscott Greenwood who heads the Canadian-American Business Council praised the choice saying: “I think it’s an inspired choice on the part of the president. It’s a complement to Canada that the White House would choose a person of Kelly’s calibre, intellect and talent, so I am excited about the prospect.”
Her nomination will need to be approved by the Senate. The Trump administration hopes to get her nomination approved quickly so she can be ambassador before the NAFTA trade negotiations begin in August. Craft is married to billionaire Joe Craft, president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, one of the largest coal producers in the eastern United States. In 2012 a profile of him in McClatchy newspapers said he was Kentucky’s most powerful non-elected person. He was critical of the Obama administration’s environmental policies. His licence plate has the slogan “Friends of Coal.”
Nevertheless, Greenwood did not think her husbands business would hurt relations. Both Knight Craft and her husband have donated to her alma mater the University of Kentucky. Knight Craft serves as a trustee on the board of the university. Her husband’s business have given $2 million to the Super PAC of Karl Rove American Crossroads and to other Super PACs. Knight Craft is said to close to the Republican Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. She has donated to and co-chaired fund-raising campaigns for him over the years. She is also involved in charitable work with the Salvation Army in Lexington, Kentucky. Knight Craft said of Trump’s nominating her for the job: “I deeply appreciate the President’s confidence in me, and am looking forward to the Senate confirmation process.” The State Department has already vetted her. Knight Craft was appointed to a UN delegation back in 2007 by George W. Bush.
Mac Brown, co-chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky also sang the praises of Knight Craft saying: “She’s an unbelievable, very nice woman who is extraordinarily hard-working,” The US Senate over which McConnell presides is expected to deal with a number of major issues affecting Canada in the future, including tax reform, trade disputes, and the renegotiation of NAFTA.