Amid reports that President Donald Trump has disparaged Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations as “shithole countries,” the U.S. Ambassador to Panama has resigned in protest.
Ambassador John Feeley, a State Department official since 1990 and a former Marine Corps pilot, was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Panama in January 2016, but said he no longer feels able to serve President Donald Trump.
BREAKING: The United States ambassador to Panama has resigned, saying he can no longer serve under the Trump Administration (Reuters)
— Jonathan Savage (@JSavageTweets) January 12, 2018
“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 said in a resignation letter read to 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.”
The State Department confirmed Feeley’s resignation, but said that he was retiring for “personal reasons, as of March 9 of this year.” The State Department received word of Feeley’s resignation on December 2017.
Feeley had been nominated to his post by former President Barack Obama on July 28, 2015 and was approved by the Senate on December 9, 2015 with a voice vote.
His diplomatic career has focused largely on Latin America and the Caribbean and he has served in both Washington, D.C. and in the region. He is a 2004 Distinguished Graduate of the National War College and has also served the State Department in Mexico City, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Bogota, Colombia.
In addition to his “shithole countries” remark, Trump allegedly singled out Haitian immigrants during a Thursday meeting on immigration at the White House, asking “why do we need more Hatians? Take them out (of the immigration bill).”
The Government of Haiti formally requested a U.S. official appear to explain the president’s remarks to them.
The debacle comes also as Trump canceled a working visit to the UK to open a new U.S. embassy in London, falsely blaming the Obama administration for what he called a “bad deal.”