Trump picks McCarter to replace Godec as US ambassador to Kenya

 Kyle McCarter

President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated state Sen. Kyle McCarter of downstate Lebanon to be an ambassador to Kenya, citing the southern Illinois legislator’s long history with a charity with ties to the African nation.

The White House announced that McCarter will replace Robert Godec whose tour of duty has expired after six years in Nairobi.

The White House announced the nomination in a news release on Wednesday afternoon, noting McCarter “served as a field auditor, Missionary and International Director of Each One Feed One International, based in Lebanon, Illinois with an office in Mukothima, Kenya.”

The politician cum businessmen appointment however has to be approved by the US senator before assuming the posting.

Just like former US envoy Scott Gration, McCarter and his wife Victoria both are conversational in Swahili, the official language of Kenya.

He takes over from Godec, whose tenure has been shrouded with claims that under his watch, the U has either maintained silence or turned a blind eye to hum rights and injustices.

Godec also became the first US ambassador in Independence Kenya to face demonstration from opposition supporters who accused him of political bias.

According to the Chicago Tribune, McCarter was first nominated last year by Illinois’ Republican congressional delegation. McCarter, along with his parents, founded Each One Feed One International, which helps orphaned and abandoned children, and also provides medical treatment for those with HIV and malaria.

McCarter began working with the charity in 1984. He and his wife Victoria lived and worked in Kenya for a year beginning in 1987 to help build a medical clinic. They resumed their work with the charity in 2011 and continue to do so.

In the congressional nomination letter, congressmen wrote of McCarter’s “extensive history in Kenya,” with experience negotiating with tribal chiefs and other dignitaries; experience working with USAID and other organizations and “heightened insight into the governmental operations and other political, economic and social realities of both Kenya and the larger region of East Africa.”

The congressmen also noted McCarter had identified ways to support Trump’s “Buy American” strategy in Kenya to help boost the American economy through Kenyan investment.

 “It is an honor to be asked to represent President Trump and our great nation in a country where I have lived and served for many years,” McCarter said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing about a closer relationship that will benefit both our nations.”


According to the release, McCarter would be “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of American to the Republic of Kenya.”

McCarter has served as a state senator since 2009, and did not seek re-election this year.

McCarter was not available by phone on Wednesday. According to his Facebook page, his father passed away on Saturday, with services pending in Oklahoma.

“It is bittersweet that I am now preparing for the funeral of my father who leaves a legacy of honoring God, serving others and saving the lives of thousands of children in Kenya,” he said in the statement.


McCarter, an Illinois manufacturer and politician, has been president and owner of Custom Product Innovations, Inc., since 1996, and of Custom Coating Innovations since 2009.

He has also been a State senator in the Illinois General Assembly since 2009.

From 1984-1989, he served as a field auditor, Missionary and International Director of Each One Feed One International, based in Lebanon, Illinois with an office in Mukothima, Kenya.

McCarter volunteered as a Member of Mercy Ministries of America (now Mercy Multiplied), serving as president for one year. 

He has been a member of numerous Chambers of Commerce in Illinois.  Mr. McCarter earned a B.S. at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.