U.S. Panama ambassador resigns over differences with Trump

U.S. Panama ambassador resigns over differences with Trump
U.S. Panama Ambassador John Feeley has resigned, citing differences with the Trump administration. (YouTube screenshot)

The U.S. Ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, has resigned over differences with the Trump administration, according to published reports.

What happened?

Feeley spent much of his time working on issues impacting Latin American nations, and some of Trump’s policies are viewed as hostile to those countries, Reuters news reported. For example, the Trump administration has moved to export “hundreds of thousands of immigrants” from El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua who held a temporary protection status due to natural disasters, according to Reuters.

“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 letter obtained by CNN. “My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come.”

Feeley’s letter also says he is leaving the embassy in “in good hands” and the U.S. has a “strong” relationship with Panama.

Is this related to Trump’s comment?

Feeley’s resignation reportedly took place before Trump allegedly called Haitian and African countries “s***holes” on Thursday. Trump denies using the term.

Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein told reporters Feeley’s departure was not related to Trump’s alleged comment, according to published reports.

“Everyone has a line that they will not cross,” Goldstein told reporters at the State Department. “If the ambassador feels that he can no longer serve…then he has made the right decision for himself and we respect that.”

Feeley, is a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, according to Reuters. Feeley also served as a top official in the State Department bureau that deals with Latin America. Additionally, he was a deputy chief at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and a director of Central American affairs in Washington, Reuters reported.

His resignation is effective March 9 of this year.