The former U.S. Ambassador to Panama who resigned this week slammed President Trump ’s immigration policies in a new op-ed, calling them “not only foolish and delusional but also anti-American.”
John Feeley, a career diplomat who had served as the ambassador to Panama since 2016, in the piece published Friday, said he “never meant” for his private decision to resign to become a “public statement.”
“Sadly, it became one,” Feeley wrote in The Washington Post. “Leaking is not new in Washington. But leaking a sitting ambassador’s personal resignation letter to the president, as mine was, is something else. This was a painful indication that the current administration has little respect for those who have served the nation apolitically for decades.”
Feeley wrote that he did not resign over Trump reportedly referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” but because he felt the “traditional core values” of the U.S. have been “warped and betrayed” under Trump.
“I could no longer represent him personally and remain faithful to my beliefs about what makes America truly great,” he wrote.
The career diplomat cited several Trump policies, including the travel ban, the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall and the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as policies that are “making the United States weaker and less prosperous.”
“America is undoubtedly less welcome in the world today, as the president pursues a unilateral and isolationist path,” he wrote.
Feeley also slammed Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, calling it “jingoistic chest-beating” and “populist scapegoating of immigrants.”
“As the grandson of migrant stock from New York City, an Eagle Scout, a Marine Corps veteran and someone who has spent his diplomatic career in Latin America, I am convinced that the president’s policies regarding migration are not only foolish and delusional but also anti-American,” Feeley wrote.
In his resignation letter, which was published in part by Reuters, Feeley said he could no longer 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. 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 wrote in the letter.
In a statement at the time, the State Department said Feeley decided to retire for “personal reasons.”