US ambassador to Panama resigns, says he can no longer serve under Trump

John Feeley


By MEGAN CERULLO | New York Daily News (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 12, 2018

The U.S. ambassador to Panama resigned Friday, saying that he could no longer "faithfully" serve the president.

Notice of John Feeley's resignation came a day after Trump referred to Caribbean and African nations as "shithole countries."

The U.S. State Department confirmed Feeley's departure from the post, saying that he decided to "retire for personal reasons, as of 9 March this year," according to Reuters.

Feeley explained in his resignation later that he "signed an oath to serve faithfully the President and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies."

"My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honour-bound to resign. That time has come," Feeley wrote in his letter dated Jan. 11, Reuters reported.

During an Oval Office meeting on immigration Thursday, Trump reportedly slammed the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

"Why do we need more Haitians?" Trump reportedly said. "Take them out."

Trump said he'd prefer to receive immigrants from countries like Norway. He had met the country's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, a day earlier.

Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said Feeley's departure was not related to the President's latest controversial remarks. Goldstein said he knew of Feeley's planned resignation 24 hours before Trump's alleged remarks, according to the Guardian.

"Everyone has a line that they will not cross," Goldstein told reporters. "If the ambassador feels that he can no longer serve ... then he has made the right decision for himself and we respect that."

Feeley's resignation marks the end of a 35-year career in public service as a Marine and diplomat, according to a notice from the U.S. Embassy in Panama.


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