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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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.”

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate