Live

Watch CBSN Live

Trump to name Kelly Knight Craft U.N. ambassador

President Trump announced in a tweet that he is nominating Kelly Knight Craft to be the ambassador the United Nations.  

"I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft, our current Ambassador to Canada, is being nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations," he tweeted late Friday afternoon. "Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level. Congratulations to Kelly and her entire family!"

Craft has been the ambassador to Canada since September 2017. She also served as an alternate U.N. delegate to the General Assembly in the George W. Bush administration. 

A senior White House official confirms to CBS News that Craft met with Mr. Trump, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Oval Office on Friday ahead of Mr. Trump naming her as his choice. 

Former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had been the nominee but days ago withdrew her nomination, citing family considerations. According to a senior administrative official, Nauert had an issue with a nanny she had employed that arose during her vetting that likely have been problematic during Congressional hearing, a development first reported by Bloomberg News.

The position of U.N. ambassador has to be approved by the Senate. Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley announced in October she would be leaving at the end of 2018.

Kelly Knight Craft testifies during her confirmation hearing to be U.S. ambassador to Canada during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 20, 2017, in Washington.
Kelly Knight Craft on Capitol Hill on June 20, 2017. Mark Wilson/Getty

Craft knows the workings of the U.N. because of her experience at the world body under the George W. Bush administration, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports from the U.N.

Craft is likely to be an asset to the Trump administration and glide through confirmation hearings because she already knows the ropes around the U.N., Falk said.

As ambassador to Canada, Craft helped steer difficult three-party negotiations to get to the approval of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration to replace NAFTA, at a time of tension between the U.S. and both Canada and Mexico.

Craft's departure from the Trump administration's view of climate change will serve her well at the world body, Falk added, even though the U.S has withdrawn from the U.N. climate accord.

The U.N. has had several female ambassadors from the U.S., but the post only became a Cabinet-level position for the third time in U.S. history during the Obama administration and stayed that way through Ambassador Haley, Falk said, but the Trump Administration has been clear that Craft will likely not have Cabinet rank. Reporting to the Secretary of State may smooth some of the rough patches that former Ambassador Nikki Haley experienced.

At the U.N., Craft will become the U.S. top multilateral negotiator at a time that the powerful 15-nation Security Council is stymied on many of the world's biggest crises, and she will have to maneuver difficult diplomacy when the White House presents it new Middle East peace proposal.