During a two-month stretch in her tenure as U.S. ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft spent more than half of the days in her home state of Kentucky or meeting with Kentuckians visiting Canada, according to her calendar released by the State Department.
Between Aug. 29 and Oct. 30, 2018, Craft spent at least part of 27 days in Kentucky. While several visits included weekends, Craft’s calendar said she teleworked from Kentucky on 10 occasions. During her time in the Bluegrass State, Craft conducted an interview with the CBC from an arena at the University of Kentucky named after her husband, a major donor. She also attended a meet and greet for the state’s Cabinet for Economic Development at Keeneland racecourse.
On five days during those two months, Craft met with Kentuckians who had traveled to Canada. She joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa for four events over a five-day stretch. And she attended a welcome dinner for the Council of State Governments, a Kentucky-based nonpartisan group chaired at the time by Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R).
Craft’s predilection for Kentucky may transcend a politician’s typical preference for their home state. In August, Craft said she’s “seriously considering” entering Kentucky’s 2023 race for governor, the Lexington Herald-Leader has reported. And her husband, Joe Craft, is the president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, which operates three mining facilities in Kentucky.
Craft has not replied to inquiries. The State Department released her calendar in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by American Oversight, a government watchdog.
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Overall, Craft spent more than half of her days as ambassador to Canada outside of the country, according to a tally by Senate Democrats during her 2019 confirmation process to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Craft’s calendar also disclosed two visits to the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., including for meetings with foreign government officials. Last week, Forbes reported that Craft had directed government business to then-President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel, according to internal emails released by the State Department.
Craft stayed at the hotel on Sept. 11–13, meeting there on the last day of her stay with Canada’s Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton. And on a return visit to D.C. later that week, Craft lunched at Trump’s D.C. hotel with MacNaughton and Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario. The lunch was first reported by the Toronto Star. It’s not clear who picked up the tab for those gatherings.
The Constitution prohibits U.S. officials from accepting gifts, titles or “emoluments” from foreign governments. The courts did not reach a definitive ruling during Trump’s term though on whether payments he received from his businesses would violate that clause. Once he was out of office, the Supreme Court dismissed the cases as moot.