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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest