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Craft absent from post for over 300 days, Menendez notes

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Bob Menendez

Sen. Bob Menendez said records show Kelly Craft’s trips listed as official travel, although some of them occurred while she was back in Kentucky. | WIn McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft was absent from her post for more than 300 days during her tenure in Ottawa, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat said today during her confirmation hearing to become the American envoy to the U.N.

The disclosure comes days after POLITICO reported about questions surrounding the frequency of Craft’s travel outside of Canada.

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Craft committed to Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) that she’d provide complete records of all the times she left her post. But Menendez said there were “discrepancies” in information she had turned over to him before the hearing.

Menendez said the records show trips listed as official travel, although some of them occurred while Craft was back in Kentucky. There also appears to be additional travel not reflected in the record, he said, based on social media posts.

From March 21 through May 13, Menendez said, Craft was absent from her post 45 out of 54 days.

Craft said she never traveled without requesting State Department approval in advance.

“The bottom line is, without the full record, we can’t evaluate it,” Menendez said.

Craft later said that much of her travel was related to USMCA negotiations, which often brought her to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington, as well as for promoting the deal across the U.S.

“This was not a time to socialize,” she said. “This was a time to work.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) also raised concerns about her lack of presence in Canada, saying that the U.N. ambassador post requires even more attentiveness. “New York is even harder,“ Coons said.

Coons added that if the documentation backs up that she was traveling on trade and other matters, he would accept that explanation.

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