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

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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.”

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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