- Kelly Craft was a longtime Republican activist in Kentucky before becoming an ambassador.
- In 2017, she was named US ambassador to Canada.
- Two years later, former President Trump made her the US ambassador to the United Nations.
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A Republican activist who served as an ambassador under Donald Trump steered business to the former president’s line of hotels, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing emails released by the State Department. The move was first reported by Forbes.
Kelly Craft was a major GOP donor in Kentucky before being picked to serve as US ambassador to Canada in 2017. She and her husband – Joe Craft, chief executive of the coal company Alliance Resource Partners – donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates. In 2019, Trump named her to replace Nikki Halley as US ambassador to the United Nations.
It was in 2018 that Craft, expected to attend a conference back in Washington, DC, rejected a list of suggested hotels from her staff, saying “I would prefer the TRUMP HOTEL,” The Post reported.
Earlier that year, Craft also rejected a staffer’s suggestion of a “boutique hotel” near a conference she was attending in Maryland. “Let’s keep TRUMP Hotel,” she wrote.
Trump’s chain of hotels, and the steering of official business to them, was a frequent subject of criticism from Democrats and outside ethics experts while Trump was president. The Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, a watchdog group, accused Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution – which prohibits a federal officeholder from accepting gifts from a foreign state – over the fact foreign officials were frequently opting to stay and spend money at the Trump hotel in Washington.
The former president also suggested holding the 2020 G7 summit at his struggling resort in Miami, Florida, backing down after criticism from ethics experts.
Now that he’s out of office, The Trump Organization, which oversees the line of hotels, is currently trying to sell its property in DC.
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