WASHINGTON, U.S. - The U.S. Ambassador to Panama, John Feeley is said to have resigned from his post, claiming he can no longer serve U.S. President Donald Trump.
Feeley’s resignation was confirmed by the State Department, with a spokeswoman 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, who is a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot is said to have informed the State Department in his letter that he no longer feels able to serve President Donald Trump.
According to an excerpt of his resignation letter obtained by Reuters, Feeley 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."
Even though Feeley’s decision comes immediately after Trump faced global criticism for the alleged use of the word "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries at a meeting on Thursday - the Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said Feeley's departure was not a response to Trump’s statement.
On Friday morning, Trump denied using the term altogether, even though he has been slammed by not just Democrats that were present in the meeting, but also by some Republicans.
Goldstein told reporters that he was aware of Feeley's planned departure in advance, even before Trump's alleged use of the term.
He said his understanding was that the ambassador had resigned for "personal reasons."
Speaking to journalists at the State Department, he said, “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."