Former United Nations ambassador Kelly Craft has generously praised previous President Donald Trump, engaged in cultural politics and criticized the Democratic governor of Kentucky for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in a Friday night speech that could precede a run for governor in 2023.
Craft, a longtime GOP activist, was the keynote speaker at a Republican dinner in Marshall County on the eve of the luxury ranch picnic—the state’s premier political event. It afforded her ample opportunity to make an impression on the Republican Party followers who had gathered to celebrate festivals in western Kentucky.
Although the governor’s election is only two years away, a lot of maneuvering is underway among Republicans who are lining up for a potential chance to try to overthrow the Democratic government. Andy Bashir.
Kraft is among several eminent Republicans who are seen as considering the possibility of a race. State Auditor Mike Harmon has already announced that he is in the running, and state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is being seen as another conceivable candidate for governor in the Republican Party. Other Republicans could jump into the campaign, given the Republican Party’s increasing dominance across Bluegrass state.
In her letter, Craft described her role as a diplomat and thanked Trump, who had nominated her for her tenure as US envoy to the United Nations. She previously worked as the US ambassador to Canada.
“President Trump, a lifelong Kentucky person, has given me the opportunity of a lifetime, allowing me to show the world the Bluegrass values that guide you and me every day,” she said, according to a transcript of her notes. “I am grateful to Donald Trump.”
Trump carried Kentucky handily in his 2016 White House run and failed re-election campaign in 2020, and he remains in control of Kentucky Republicans.
“Whatever is said about him, he put America, the United States, and our country back for four years to become the real work of American public life,” Craft said of Trump. “He reaffirmed the vital component of our national destiny: that it was America’s values that made America.”
Following the text from Trump’s political playbook, Craft promoted American exceptionalism and plunged into culture wars, referring to critical race theory as “destroying” and something that “doesn’t belong in our schools.”
“And today in our schools and universities, in some of our largest companies and communications empires, they are all focused on America’s mistakes,” Kraft said. For them, the only country in the world that is the first choice for immigrants of every nation, creed and color is “systematically racist.”
“The ‘Awakened General’ despises American history, America and America’s heroes,” she said, adding, “Here in Kentucky, we don’t accept any of that.”
She criticized Bashir, without mentioning him by name, for the virus-related restrictions he has ordered to combat the spread of COVID-19. “Under the cover of this pandemic,” she said, he was “reducing our freedoms and assuming greater and greater control over how we live.”
Bashir lifted epidemic restrictions on businesses and gatherings in June. Kentucky has had fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths than some of its neighbors, which have taken a less combative approach, and Bashir said his tactics saved lives. The governor says Kentucky’s economy has recovered and is now on the repair.
If Kraft enters the Kentucky governor’s race, she will have the advantage of being competent to draw on her family’s riches to fund her campaign.
Her hand did not disclose her political intentions but said her diplomatic experience prepared her for anything to come.
“I have no regrets about jumping into the real arena,” she said. “Sitting behind the banner that reads United States Protecting American Taxpayers, Kentucky taxpayers, demanding transparency and accountability. It will make me stronger for my coming as I did.”
While traveling the world as a diplomat, she said that she once again realized that “you can leave Kentucky for a while, but Kentucky never leaves you.”