Tom Brady retires, insisting this time it's for good

James passed over for UN ambassador's nomination

Richard Burr
The Detroit News
Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during a rally in Pontiac  on Oct. 17, 2018.

President Donald Trump again has passed over Farmington Hills businessman John James for nomination as the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump tweeted late Friday afternoon that U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft is being select for the diplomatic and foreign policy post.

"....Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level. Congratulations to Kelly and her entire family!" the president tweeted.

In the end, Trump decided not to go with a political novice in the sensitive diplomatic post despite rumors he preferred such a candidate. The president last year considered James for the UN nomination that went to State Department spokewoman Heather Nauert, who a week ago withdrew her name from consideration for the position. 

James lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing 46 percent to 52 percent in November, making it a closer race than polls initially suggested.

James, 37, was among the candidates Trump considered to replace Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who resigned last year. The others Trump has considered for the United Nations job include the U.S. ambassadors to France and Germany.

But the loss of this plum diplomatic post for James may be a gain for the Michigan Republican Party. Strategists have suggested the Iraq War veteran who flew Apache helicopters is well positioned to challenge U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, in 2020 or freshman U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills.

The Michigan Democratic Party responded to Trump's U.N. ambassador selection on Twitter: "That’s now a THREE times rejected John James: rejected by the voters of Michigan and twice for the UN job. All agree: #NotQualifiedToLead."

James is president of the James Group International, a supply-chain management firm based in Detroit. Trump himself called James "a rising star," a description that the businessman politely dismissed on the campaign trail.

Trump never visited Michigan to campaign for James, although he said he wanted to. But the president promoted James' candidacy on Twitter and sent Vice President Mike Pence to the state three times to do fundraising and campaigning.