WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has recommended President Donald Trump choose U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft as his next point person at the United Nations, Axios reported Friday.
Craft is the wife of billionaire Joe Craft, a billionaire coal executive who has campaigned against the Obama administration’s crackdown on the coal industry. The Crafts donated more than $2 million to support Trump’s presidency, media reports show.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, called Craft a “proven advocate for our national interests,” according to Feb.21 McClatchy report. He introduced Craft at her Senate confirmation hearing in July 2017 for her current position. The Senate unanimously voted to confirm her.
Craft is facing competition for the spot, namely from high profile people like U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and John James, a former Republican senate candidate from Michigan. Various media reports have suggested the UN ambassadorship is James’ to lose.
The process was thrown into disarray on Feb. 16 after former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert dropped out of the running.
Trump campaigned in 2016 on reviving a beleaguered coal industry. His administration crafted various proposals to further that mission, including a new policy directing the Department of Energy to place more emphasis on coal as a consistent provider of energy.
But the president has been largely quiet about the industry’s plight over the past several months. He kicked up dust in a series of Feb. 11 tweets when the Tennessee Valley Authority sought to shutter one of its largest plants, the Paradise Coal Plant.
“Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and @TVAnews should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!” Trump told his Twitter followers. It didn’t appear to help. TVA announced the plant’s closing anyway.