Trump nominates key donor Kelly Knight Craft as U.S. ambassador to Canada

June 15, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has named a top donor and fundraiser as ambassador to Canada.

Mr. Trump picked Kelly Knight Craft for the post in February and had the State Department vet her, but did not formally nominate her until Wednesday. Ms. Craft must now be confirmed by the Senate.

The Lexington, Ky.-based Ms. Craft runs a business-consulting firm, but she is best known in Republican circles as a prodigious fundraiser and generous contributor...

She and her husband, billionaire Joe Craft, president of coal company Alliance Resource Partners, together gave $1.3-million (U.S.) to Republican candidates and SuperPACs last year, including a $265,400 contribution from Ms. Craft to Trump Victory.

Her appointment comes at a pivotal time in U.S.-Canada relations. The two countries are gearing up to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement, the pact that regulates the vast majority of Ottawa’s foreign trade. Mr. Trump has fired rhetorical shots at Canada in the run-up to the talks, accusing Canadians of “taking advantage” of the United States under the deal.

Ms. Craft’s coal connection could be awkward, however. The Trudeau government has made phasing out coal-fired electricity a cornerstone of its plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions, even as Mr. Trump is boosting the hydrocarbon and decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

When Ms. Craft will be installed in Ottawa is unclear. She must first have her nomination reviewed by a Senate committee before coming before a vote in the full chamber...

This was excerpted from 14 June 2017 edition of The Globe and Mail.

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