A US Ambassador Resigned Because He Can No Longer Serve Under Trump

Ambassador John Feeley, an Obama appointee, has served as America’s top diplomat in Panama since 2016.

US Embassy, Panama CityUS State Department

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.

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.”

IT'S TIME TO TALK ABOUT MEDIA BIAS

We believe that journalism needs to stand for something right now. That the press is the enemy of secrecy and corruption. That reporting without a sense of right and wrong only helps liars and propagandists succeed. And that we're in this fight for the long haul.

So we're hoping to raise $30,000 in new monthly donations this fall. Read our argument for journalism that is fair and accurate and stands for something—and join us with a tax-deductible monthly donation (or make a one-time gift) if you agree.

  • Ben Dreyfuss is Mother Jones' editorial director for growth and strategy. He's done some other stuff, too. You can email him at bdreyfuss@motherjones.com. But you don't have to. But you can. But you really don't have to.