Trump’s pick for UN envoy says she’ll fight anti-Israel bias
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Trump’s pick for UN envoy says she’ll fight anti-Israel bias

During Senate hearing, Kelly Knight Craft vows to continue Nikki Haley’s efforts to change world body’s stance on Israel

Kelly Craft, President Trump's nominee to be Representative to the United Nations, testifies at her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images/AFP)
Kelly Craft, President Trump's nominee to be Representative to the United Nations, testifies at her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images/AFP)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next US envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday vowed to continue pushing for reform at the world body and to fight against anti-Israel resolutions and actions by the UN and its affiliated agencies.

Kelly Knight Craft is aiming to take over the post some six months after Nikki Haley left the role at the world body.

During Haley’s two-year-tenure, the Trump administration withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and the UN educational and scientific agency for adopting positions it deemed to be hostile to Israel.

However, Craft made a case for America returning to a leading role at Turtle Bay as a way of protecting Israel.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley speaks during a UN Security Council meeting, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, on April 10, 2018. (AFP/Hector Retamal)

“Without US leadership, our partners and allies would be vulnerable to bad
actors at the UN. This is particularly true in the case of Israel, which is the subject
of unrelenting bias and hostility in UN venues,” she said in her opening testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting.

“The United States will never accept such bias, and if confirmed I commit to seizing every opportunity to shine a light on this conduct, call it what it is, and demand that these outrageous practices finally come to an end,” she said.

Craft is a longtime GOP activist from Kentucky who is currently US ambassador to Canada. She would be first major political donor to occupy the UN post. She said that withdrawing from the Paris agreement did not mean the administration was ceding a leadership role on climate change.

Craft has been credited by supporters with playing a major role in her current role in helping to secure a proposed new trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico but has been criticized for frequent absences from Ottawa. Craft testified that all of her travel had been approved in advance by the State Department and that she and her husband had paid for all personal trips.

Craft also defended her record on climate change, saying it is a “real risk to our planet” that must be addressed.

She said that she believes human behavior has contributed to climate change and she’ll push countries to deal with it. However, she also said the United States should not have to bear an “outsized burden” in mitigating its effects that harm American economic growth.

“If confirmed, I will be an advocate for addressing climate change,” Craft said.

Her comments came in response to questions from Democrats on the panel prompted by previous remarks she made doubting the causes and severity of climate change. Democrats are also concerned about possible conflicts of interest as she holds extensive investments in fossil fuels.

The Trump administration has been criticized by environmentalists and scientists for rolling back regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and announcing its withdrawal, effective next year, from the Paris Climate Accord that aimed to limit climate change.

In addition to climate change, Craft also faced Democratic questions about her relative lack of diplomatic experience, which her Republican supporters said was belied by her two years as serving as the top envoy to a close ally and neighbor.

Trump nominated Craft to replace Haley after his first choice for the job, former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew from consideration.

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