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John Feeley, the U.S. ambassador to Panama, is stepping down from his post, citing irreconcilable differences with the Trump administration, Reuters reports.
Feeley's resignation, widely reported on Friday, is not a response to President Trump's remarks Thursday at a noon meeting about immigration. Sources tell NPR that at that meeting, Trump referred to African nations as "shithole countries" and questioned why the U.S. admits immigrants from Haiti. Trump denies reports about his remarks, which have prompted uproar around the world.
However, the ambassador to Panama had tendered his resignation by Thursday morning, before the meeting occurred, a State Department official tells NPR's Michele Kelemen.
Feeley, a career diplomat, informed the White House, the State Department and the Panamanian government "of his decision to retire for personal reasons, as of March 9 of this year," the State Department says.
Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary for diplomacy, told Michele that all ambassadors and other diplomats have the right to be in the job they chose and that it is up to them if they leave for moral reasons, or any other reason.
Reuters has more detail on Feeley's stated explanation of his resignation: