According to multiple reports, the U.S. ambassador to Panama has resigned in the wake of President Trump’s racist remarks about immigrants, saying can no longer serve “faithfully.”
“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,” John Feeley said in his resignation letter. “My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come.”
Reuters reports that the State Department also put out a statement, saying Feeley’s resignation was for “personal reasons,” adding that his departure will become final on March 9 of this year.
But other government officials are trying to downplay any connection between Feeley’s resignation and Trump’s remarks, in which he derided immigrants who come from “shithole countries” during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers.
According to Reuters, Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said Feeley’s departure was not a response to Trump’s comments, which the President denies making. But Goldstein told reporters that everyone “has a line that they will not cross.”
“If the ambassador feels that he can no longer serve … then he has made the right decision for himself and we respect that,” Goldstein said.
A person familiar with the meeting told CNN that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “brought a plan to Trump that involved cutting the visa lottery in half and, at the behest of the Congressional Black Caucus, the rest would go to underrepresented countries in Africa and Temporary Protective Status nations, including Haiti. The person said the language was salty on both sides.”
When Durbin brought up Haiti, Trump questioned why the U.S. allows people from Haiti and Africa to come in, adding that the U.S. should accept more people from countries like Norway.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump reportedly said. “Take them out.”
A White House official told CNN the President’s “shithole” remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside. The official said that although this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment would resonate with Trump’s base, similarly to how Trump’s attacks on NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem did.
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