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U.S. ambassador to Panama resigns, says cannot serve Trump

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Updated: 06:51 GMT, Jan 14, 2018 | Published: 04:02 GMT, Jan 13, 2018 |
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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission John Feeley in Mexico speaks during a ceremony at a hangar of Secretariat of National Defense in Mexico City

U.S. Ambassador to Panama John Feeley, a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, has resigned, saying he no longer felt able to serve President Donald Trump.

Feeley’s departure had been communicated to State Department officials on Dec. 27 and was not a response to Trump’s alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries at a meeting on Thursday (January 12), U.S. officials said.

Trump denies using the term.

Feeley, one of the department’s Latin America specialists and among its senior most officers, made clear that he had come to a place where he no longer felt able to serve under 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 said, according to an excerpt of a resignation letter read to Reuters on Friday.

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

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

Feeley’s career included serving as the No. 2 official in the State Department bureau that deals with Latin America, as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and as director for Central American affairs in Washington.

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