U.S. ambassador resigns, says he can no longer serve under Trump
The U.S. ambassador to Panama resigned on Friday while 54 ambassadors from Africa demanded an apology after President Trump reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “s–thole countries.”
The U.S. State Department confirmed Ambassador John Feeley’s resignation, saying that he decided to “retire for personal reasons, as of 9 March this year,” according to Reuters.
Feeley explained in his resignation letter 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.
U.S. ambassador to Panama John D. Feeley said he would resign Friday because he can no longer serve under Trump.
The African Group of ambassadors to the United Nations — made up of representatives from 54 countries — met during an emergency session on Friday and demanded a retraction and apology.
The “extremely appalled” group issued a statement saying ti was “concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the U.S. administration towards African and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color.”
Earlier Friday,Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the UN, responded to the shocking remark and said, “ “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the president of the United States, I’m sorry but there is no other word for this but racist.”
El Salvador’s government also sent the United States a formal letter of protest, while President Salvador Sanchez Ceren said he “vigorously rejected” the comments attributed to Trump.
On Thursday, the Haiti government formally summoned a U.S. official to explain Trump’s comments, according to journalist Yamiche Alcindor, who spoke to ambassador Paul Altidor.
During an Oval Office meeting on immigration Thursday, the President 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.
While the White House did not deny Trump’s comments on Thursday, the president took to Twitter on Friday to deny the remarks.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” the President tweeted.
The U.S. ambassador to Panama said he could no longer “faithfully” serve under the Trump administration Friday.
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.
With Jessica Chia