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Ambassador resigns following Trump’s criticisms of European Union

The Trump administration’s staffing troubles have been well documented, but there’s been a noticeable lack of officials announcing their resignations in disgust. Personnel at multiple levels have parted ways with the president and his team, but very few have made it clear to the public that they left as a direct result of their disagreements with Donald Trump.

There are, however, exceptions. Foreign Policy reported late last week:

The U.S. ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville Jr., a career diplomat and member of the senior foreign service ranks, announced to friends Friday that he was resigning amid a string of controversial comments President Donald Trump made about U.S. allies in Europe.

Melville, who has served as a diplomat for 33 years and as ambassador to Estonia since 2015, was due to retire soon but said in a private Facebook post announcing his retirement that Trump’s behavior and comments accelerated his decision.

“A Foreign Service Officer’s DNA is programmed to support policy and we’re schooled right from the start, that if there ever comes a point where one can no longer do so, particularly if one is in a position of leadership, the honorable course is to resign,” Melville wrote online. “Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me.”

He added, “For the President to say the EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go.”

The FP article noted that the online piece “surprised several State Department officials who worked with Melville, describing him as a consummate professional who never let domestic politics impact his job.”

And while this is important in its own right, let’s also not forget that Melville isn’t the only ambassador who felt compelled to quit rather than serve on this president’s team.

In March, for example, John Feeley stepped down as the U.S. ambassador to Panama, and soon after wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “I resigned because the traditional core values of the United States, as manifested in the president’s National Security Strategy and his foreign policies, have been warped and betrayed. I could no longer represent him personally and remain faithful to my beliefs about what makes America truly great.”

“I resigned because the traditional core values of the United States, as manifested in the president’s National Security Strategy and his foreign policies, have been warped and betrayed,” Feeley wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post in March. “I could no longer represent him personally and remain faithful to my beliefs about what makes America truly great.”

Trump’s only been in office for a year and a half. It’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of these sentiments from departing administration officials.

Donald Trump, Europe and Foreign Policy

Ambassador resigns following Trump's criticisms of European Union