USA envoy to Panama quits over Trump

The State Department has informed the media that John Feeley, the USA ambassador to Panama, plans to leave his position in March.

"My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign", Feeley continued. "That time has come", Feeley wrote.

Feeley first joined the State Department in 1990, and is a Latin America specialist.

It was not a direct response to Mr Trump's alleged use of the term "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries. He notified the White House of his planned departure, as well as Panama's president.

Various press reports in Panama said Feeleys decision to leave the post was made before reports of Trumps offensive remarks.

But an excerpt from his resignation letter reported by Reuters indicates that Feeley is indeed resigning out of protest of the Trump presidency. He tweeted: "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country". Made up by Dems. "Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"

Editor's note: NPR has decided in this case to spell out the vulgar word that the president reportedly used because it meets our standard for use of offensive language: It is "absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told".

Ambassador John Feeley was nominated to the post in 2015 by President Barack Obama.

Elizabeth Shackelford, who worked in Nairobi for the USA mission to Somalia, resigned in December.

Panama will join the dozens of countries that do not now have Senate-confirmed United States ambassadors in place, including key USA allies like South Korea, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

"It is the cultural heritage of machismo, which is a bad thing in many ways", Feeley said.

Feeley's resignation marks the end of a 35-year career in public service as a marine and diplomat, according to a notice from the US embassy in Panama.

Vanessa Coleman

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