The US Ambassador to Panama has resigned because he no longer comfortable taking directions from President Donald Trump.
John D. Feeley, who has served as the United States’ top diplomat in Panama since January 15, 2016, will not officially leave his role until March 9, but the State Department confirmed his upcoming departure Friday, saying that the ambassador is retiring for “personal reasons.” NBC News and Reuters, however, are reporting that the resignation stems from the Obama appointee’s growing dissatisfaction with Trump.
“As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies,” Feeley wrote in a resignation letter obtained by Reuters. “My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come.”
Initial reports of the ambassador’s resignation connected it to Thursday’s revelation, first reported by the Washington Post, that the president had dismissed countries as “shithole[s]” in a meeting with lawmakers. However, Feeley had submitted his resignation letter prior to Trump’s remarks.
Anyone who is reporting the ambassador to Panama resigned in wake of Trump's remarks yesterday is WRONG. His resignation was already on US Embassy website BEFORE Trump made those remarks
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) January 12, 2018
The shockwaves from the “shithole” comments continue to be felt far beyond DC. The UN’s office on human rights issued a statement condemning the comments; Haiti has summoned the US ambassador in Port-au-Prince, who early called the comments “regrettable,” to explain; and Botswana has asked the United States to clarify if it is a “shithole country.”
Though the president denied the report in a tweet Friday morning, it has been confirmed by subsequent reporting. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who was present when Trump allegedly made the comments, has said the reports are accurate. “He said these hate-filled things.”