The former U.S. ambassador to Panama says he left his post this week because he could no longer abide the Trump administration’s “scapegoating of immigrants, jingoistic chest-beating and ... schoolyard bully’s attitude.”
John Feeley discussed his reasons for stepping down on Friday in a scathing op-ed in The Washington Post titled “Why I Could No Longer Serve This President.” Sections of his far more restrained resignation letter to the White House were leaked in January, shortly after Feeley told the administration of his plans.
Feeley, a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, said he made up his mind to leave last summer, after President Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. An avowed white supremacist was charged with murder after police said he deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
“The president’s failure to condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who provoked the violence made me realize that my values were not his values,” Feeley wrote.
Feeley said he resigned because the “traditional core values” of the nation have been “warped and betrayed” by Trump’s foreign policies and his national security strategy. Among the policies Feeley listed were Trump’s “amateurish country-specific” travel ban, his plans for a “big, beautiful” border wall, his decision to end protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, and his withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.
But Feeley also spoke up for voters who backed Trump, whom he called “legitimately aggrieved.” They “deserve better,” he noted in the Post. “They deserve enlightened and informed debate about the true nature of the globalized economy, automation, and the need for education and reimagined job-skills programs to keep us competitive.”
Instead, Feeley wrote, “they are being offered the siren song of populist scapegoating of immigrants, jingoistic chest-beating and a schoolyard bully’s attitude that taunts: ‘I win, you lose.’”