Indian Treaty Room
5:20 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon. I’m Vice President Mike Pence, and on behalf of the First Family, welcome to the White House. (Applause.)
And as important, welcome to the swearing-in of the 24th Ambassador for the United States to Canada — Kelly Craft. (Applause.)
We’re delighted today to be joined by many distinguished guests, but none more distinguished than Kelly’s wonderful family — her husband, Joe, four of their children and their families, five of their grandchildren, and so many other members of this wonderful extended family. Would you give all of them a round of applause? We’re so glad you’re here. (Applause.)
It’s also an honor to have with us four of Kelly’s predecessors in the role of the United States Ambassador to Canada, and to all the ambassadors present here today, you honor us by your presence, and we’re grateful for your service.
We also have with us many very distinguished guests, members of our Cabinet. Administrator of the EPA Scott Pruitt is with us today. (Applause.) General Lori Robinson from NORAD is with us today. And NORAD is a great and extraordinary collaboration between the United States and Canada. And, General, thank you for making the trip. (Applause.)
We’re also here joined by so many distinguished fellow Kentuckians, some of whom play a prominent role in the life of the nation here in Washington, D.C. and others who play a prominent role. We’re very honored to be joined today by Governor Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin who are with us today. Thank you, Governor, Glenna. (Applause.)
And we’re especially honored to be joined by two distinguished public servants, both who call Kentucky home, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Thank you both for being with us today and for your service. (Applause.)
We’re also I’m pleased to report joined by many distinguished members of the House of Representatives from the state of Kentucky — Hal Rogers, James Comer, Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, and Jimmy Duncan. Join me in thanking all of these great members of Congress who are with us today. (Applause.) Jimmy Duncan is from Tennessee. (Laughter.) But I know he appreciates the association. (Laughter.)
At a gathering of this many Kentuckians, it actually wouldn’t be complete without somebody who knew something about basketball, and so this dedicated Hoosier nevertheless is honored by the presence of the University of Kentucky basketball coach, Wildcat Coach John Calipari. John, thank you so much for being here with us today. (Applause.)
To the serious business of the day. Under President Donald Trump, the United States is firmly committed to strengthen our relationship with our treasured ally, friend, and neighbor to the north, Canada. One of the clearest signs of that commitment is the President Trump’s choice of Kelly Craft as America’s new Ambassador to Canada. (Applause.)
The United States and Canada share the longest border in the world; it stretches 5,525 miles. But as President Trump has said, “Our two nations share much more than a border. We share the same values.” We have a shared history and truly a great love of freedom and its collective defense.
Kelly is well-prepared to support this strong and historic alliance and build on the foundation of shared security and prosperity between the United States and Canada.
Now, Kelly is no stranger to foreign policy and diplomatic negotiations. Those of you who know her, know that in 2007, President George W. Bush appointed her to be a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
She has a distinguished record of leadership in the private sector, as well; has founded a successful marketing advisory firm and, as a third generation Kentuckian, she has spent much of her career giving back to her home state. She has helped lead many Kentucky-based non-profit groups, including the Salvation Army of Lexington, the Center for Rural Development, just to name a few.
Kelly, this is also a fitting year for us to send you north because America is celebrating 150 years of our diplomatic relationship with Canada. This is also a momentous time in our relationship with our neighbor, as we work with Canada and with Mexico to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement. And we know, as ambassador, that you’ll play a critical role in facilitating those negotiations and discussions as they go forward.
Kelly, President Trump and I are confident that with your experience, with your character, with your leadership skills, that you will during your season of service as our ambassador to Canada strengthen this vital relationship and make the historic and steadfast friendship between the United States and Canada even stronger still.
And so, on behalf of President Trump, it will be my great privilege to administer to you the oath of office.
(The oath is administered.)
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my privilege to introduce to you the United States Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador Kelly Craft. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR CRAFT: Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence, thank you for your leadership, your friendship, and for honoring me today by administering the oath. Thank you so much, Karen, for being here. It means the world to me.
I am grateful to President Trump for his confidence in me and grateful for your and the President’s service to this country.
Leader McConnell, thank you so much for the support in the United States and your distinguished service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and our nation.
Secretary Chao, thank you for a long-time friendship and support and for serving as a tremendous role model of dignity, leadership for women to emulate.
Governor and Mrs. Bevin and the 11 — or the nine over here, I am so honored that you all would be here today. And I admire your hard work and leadership on behalf of our great state of Kentucky.
I could literally acknowledge everyone in this room because each person is very important to me, but we all have a party to go to afterwards, though.
So distinguished guests, friends, and family, thank you for joining on this special occasion, but mostly thank you for walking beside me on this remarkable journey. We gather in this historic space for a ministerial ceremony that marks the act of confidence bestowed on me as the ambassador to Canada.
It is a promise, if you will, to serve, to put aside self-interests and put the interests of our nation first — in my case, to leave my home, my family, my neighbors, and my community to represent the interest of our country to our closest ally and friend, Canada.
If you think about it, that is our story — the American experience is one of men and women of every walk of life saying, yes to a nation’s call. It is the founders who left their farms and families to craft a new nation. It is the men and women who have shed blood both home and abroad when called to defend our nation. It is the thousands of acts of civic duty performed at school boards, town hall meetings. It is a citizen that sits on a jury and casts a vote.
Together, we hold in trust the greatest experiment in representative democracy the world has ever known. For me, it is a profound honor.
Having been blessed in so many ways, this is an opportunity for me to give back to our great nation, to contribute in a small way to an unfolding chapter of our history. I can’t promise every day is going to be perfect. Friends don’t always agree. That is also true of allies and trading partners. The world is complicated and unpredictable. But I can promise each of you this: I will lead every day with a servant’s heart.
Too often leadership is mistaken as an act of personal will. It is viewed as a platform for pursuing an individual agenda. But our greatest leaders have always understood that the strength of putting aside ego and putting aside self-interest to serve others in support of a common goal.
So in a few weeks, Joe and I will depart for Ottawa on a mission of service, service on behalf of professionals in our embassy and our consulates that work tirelessly to promote a strong partnership with our northern neighbor; service on behalf of many business relationships that make Canada such an important part of our economy; service on behalf all of you who deserve effective representation of our interest in the capitals of this world; and in accepting this call as old as the Gospel, a call, when answered, has made us a great and good nation — to simply honor the blessings of this life and of citizenship in this remarkable country by serving.
I know this day feels very official, but please allow me just this personal moment. Gathered with us today at last count are 28 members of our family. I can’t recall an occasion that has drawn together our family. There is nothing more important to us than family, and I am so grateful that you are here.
This journey is made immeasurably better because I get to share it with my husband, Joe. But that’s true of any trip — whether we’re going to a basketball game or we’re going around the world. I am so grateful to have you in my life, Joe. You are a patriot and a difference-maker. Your career in so many ways has embodied the American Dream. I love you and I love this opportunity that we’re going to have to serve our great nation together, one of our dreams.
And you know what, I have to tell you that he was voted the number one spouse in spousal school. (Laughter.) So he really was. He’s going to count the silver. He’s going to be the best host. (Laughter.)
Thank you all for surrounding us today with your support and prayers. And as our story continues to unfold here and around the world, God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)
5:34 P.M. EDT