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US ambassador to Panama quits and says he cannot serve under Trump

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The US ambassador to Panama has resigned, telling the US state department he no longer feels able to serve Donald Trump.

In his letter of resignation, John Feeley, a career diplomat and former marine helicopter pilot said: “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.”

“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 said, according to an excerpt of the letter read to Reuters.

A state department spokeswoman confirmed Feeley’s departure, saying that he “has informed the White House, the state department and the government of Panama of his decision to retire for personal reasons, as of 9 March of this year.”

Under-secretary of state Steve Goldstein said Feeley’s departure was not a response to Trump’s alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries at a meeting on Thursday. 

Speaking to reporters, Goldstein said that he was aware of Feeley’s planned departure 24 in advance, before Trump’s reported use of the term, and said his understanding was that the ambassador had resigned for “personal reasons.”

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

The Guardian

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