People like to call Mitch McConnell the Grim Reaper but this moniker is only accurate as far as the killing of legislation introduced by Democrats is concerned. When it comes to pushing through the Republican agenda, the Senate Majority Leader is actually quite active and efficient.
On Wednesday, McConnell and his obedient minions in the Senate were making hay while the sun was shining by confirming Kelly Knight Craft as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Ms. Craft will be filling the position that has been vacant for the past seven months since Nikki Haley stepped down in December last year.
In a tweet that appeared shortly after the confirmation vote, the Senate Majority Leader called his fellow Kentuckian “an impressive nominee” and said he was confident that “our entire nation will be proud of the fine service she will render as our Ambassador to the United Nations.” Apparently, he has not been listening to what his fellow Senators on the other side of the aisle have to say about Donald Trump’s pick for the ambassadorship, and he must have had his eyes and ears tightly shut whenever Kelly Craft was interviewed.
It was in October 2017 that the then-Ambassador to Canada received a fair bit of public attention when she was questioned on the issue of climate change during an interview with CBC’s The National. In a statement that raised a lot of eyebrows, Kelly Knight Craft said she believed that “both sides” of climate science were accurate. It is not entirely clear how one can believe that climate change both is and is not man-made at the same time. Kelly Craft has since come out to publicly state that she believes anthropogenic climate change to be real but it is anyone’s guess whether or not this will make her a strong and active supporter of U.N. initiatives to address one of the most pressing issues of our time.
In the running up to the confirmation, Bob Menendez – the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member – issued a blistering report in which he outlines Kelly Craft’s dire lack of qualifications for her new post, her unacceptable absenteeism while serving as Ambassador to Canada and her cavalier attitude towards potential conflicts of interest based on her husband’s position as the CEO of a major U.S. coal company.
While previous U.S. envoys to the United Nations came on the job with impressive resumes and prior experience as senators, governors or diplomats, Kelly Craft has no substantive policy experience, and she will be woefully outmatched by the skilled negotiators at the U.N. who basically eat people like her for breakfast. Her main qualification for the new ambassadorship is her previous service as Ambassador to Canada – a post from which she was physically absent for a whopping 58% of her tenure, according to Menendez’ report.
However, the Ambassador has one qualification that trumps every other consideration: the Crafts are major Republican donors who have given millions of dollars to political candidates, among them Donald Trump whose campaign and inauguration committee received $2 million. Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas commented: “In other countries, there’s a word for that kind of quid pro quo: corruption.”