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Kelly Dawn Knight Craft (née Guilfoil; born February 24, 1962)[1] is an American political donor and diplomat who is currently serving as the United States Ambassador to Canada, the first woman to hold the post.[2][3][4] 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.[5][6] She was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Kentucky.[5] She headed Kelly G. Knight LLC, a business advisory firm based in Lexington, Kentucky.[7]

Kelly Craft
Kelly Knight Craft - 2018 (25766214208) (cropped).jpg
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Assuming office
PresidentDonald Trump
SucceedingJonathan Cohen (acting)
United States Ambassador to Canada
Assumed office
October 23, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byBruce Heyman
Personal details
Kelly Dawn Guilfoil

(1962-02-24) February 24, 1962 (age 57)
Fayette County, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)David Moross
Judson Knight
Joe Craft (m. 2016)
EducationUniversity of Kentucky (BA)
*Pending Senate confirmation

On May 2, 2019, Craft's nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations was officially sent to the United States Senate[8] after President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate her on February 22, 2019.[9]


Early life and educationEdit

Craft was born in 1962, the daughter of the late veterinarian Dr. Bobby Guilfoil and Sherry Dale Guilfoil.[10] Her father was a Democratic Party activist who once served as chairman of the Barren County, Kentucky Democratic Party.[1] She grew up in Glasgow, Kentucky, and graduated from Glasgow High School in 1980.[11] She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1984.

Political involvement and donationsEdit

Craft has been described as a generous donor to political candidates.[12]

In 2004, Craft was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush, who appointed her an alternate delegate to the United Nations in 2007.[13] As part of the delegation, her responsibilities included advising the UN ambassador on US/Africa policy.[14]

In 2016, Craft and her husband donated millions of dollars to candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.[15] Prior to donating more than $2 million to Donald Trump's campaign, the couple supported Marco Rubio.[13] Craft and her husband, Joe Craft, have strongly supported Mitch McConnell.[16] McConnell in turn urged Trump to nominate Craft as Ambassador to Canada.[16]

Craft served on the board of trustees of her alma mater, the University of Kentucky, for a term beginning August 2016,[14] but resigned to accept the Canadian ambassadorship a year later.[17]

U.S. Ambassador to CanadaEdit

On June 15, 2017, Craft was nominated by President Donald Trump to become the United States Ambassador to Canada. She was confirmed by the United States Senate by voice vote on August 3 and assumed office on October 23.[18]

In her first week as U.S. 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."[19][20]

According to a June 2019 report in Politico, Craft was frequently absent from her Ottawa post during her tenure as Ambassador.[16] During a 15-month period, she took 128 flights between Ottawa and the United States, the equivalent of a round trip per week.[16] 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.[16] 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.[16] Craft does not make her schedules available.[16]

U.N. ambassadorEdit

On February 22, 2019, Craft was nominated by President Donald Trump to replace Nikki Haley, who had resigned the previous year, as his envoy to the United Nations.[21] The first replacement choice, Heather Nauert, withdrew her nomination.[22] The United States Senate received Craft's nomination from the White House on May 2, 2019.[8] During a Senate hearing on June 19, 2019, Craft said that she would continue to fight anti-Israel bias in the United Nations.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Craft has been married three times and divorced twice. She married David S. Moross and then Judson Knight.[13] She wed Joe Craft in April 2016.[24] Her husband is a billionaire coal-mining executive for Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., the third-largest coal producer in the eastern United States.[25][26][27]


  1. ^ a b Straehley, Steve; Wallechinsky, David (August 14, 2017). "United States Ambassador to Canada: Who Is Kelly Knight Craft?". AllGov. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Kelly Craft sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Canada". WKYT. August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ten Nominations Sent to the Senate Today" (Press release). White House Office of the Press Secretary. June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "PN603 – Kelly Knight Craft – Department of State". U.S. Congress. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Trump nominates Kelly Knight Craft as the next ambassador to Canada". BBC. June 15, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Ellis, Ronnie. "Bush nominates Knight for UN". CNHI News Service. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b The White House (May 2, 2019). "Seven Nominations Sent to the Senate". The White House. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Trump, Donald J. [@realdonaldtrump] (February 22, 2019). "I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft..." (Tweet). Retrieved February 22, 2019 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Dr. Bobby Austin Guilfoil's Obituary on Lexington Herald-Leader". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  11. ^ Canada. "Trump's ambassador pick sends GOP power couple to Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ a b c Meagan Campbell (October 24, 2017). "Why Kelly Knight Craft was made U.S. ambassador to Canada". Maclean's.
  14. ^ a b "Blard of Trustees Members – Kelly Knight Craft". University of Kentucky. Archived from the original on July 19, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  15. ^ 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. 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.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Gardner, Lauren. "Trump's U.N. nominee was 'absent' ambassador". POLITICO. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  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. ^ "PN603 – Kelly Knight Craft – Department of State". Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  19. ^ "New U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft says she believes 'both sides' of climate science". CBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  20. ^ Anapol, Avery (October 24, 2017). "US ambassador to Canada believes 'both sides' of climate science". TheHill. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  21. ^ "Trump picks envoy to Canada Kelly Craft for U.N. ambassador". Reuters.
  22. ^ "Ex-Fox News anchor Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration as UN ambassador". CNBC. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  23. ^ AP and TOI staff. "Trump's pick for UN envoy says she'll fight anti-Israel bias". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "New U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft says she believes 'both sides' of climate science". CBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ "A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt's Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron". The New York Times. June 2, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 3, 2018.

External linksEdit

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Bruce Heyman
United States Ambassador to Canada