President Donald Trump’s comments about “shithole countries” have set off a global furor and put American and foreign diplomats in the hot seat.
State Department officials were reportedly scrambling Friday to give diplomats guidance on how to affirm the United States’ commitment to their host countries, CNN reported.
The Botswana government summoned its U.S. ambassador “to clarify whether Botswana is regarded as a “shithole” country,” The Washington Post reported.
And Haitian ambassador Paul Altidor told MSNBC that Haiti believes Trump was “either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people.”
Both Altidor and the government of Botswana released statements condemning the comments and asking U.S. officials for a formal explanation of the remarks.
Nicholas Burns, a widely respected former top diplomat, tweeted:
The damage overseas from Trump’s ignorant and rascist remarks can’t be exaggerated. No President in the last 100 years has reduced America’s moral authority as he has. https://t.co/IqWwyHzvcy
— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) January 12, 2018
Trump reportedly made the comments during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers discussing immigration reform.
In addition, U.S. Ambassador to Panama John Feeley announced his resignation on Thursday, hours before The New York Times and The Washington Post reported on Trump’s “shithole” remarks, according to reports from a local Panama newspaper. The career diplomat told the State Department that he no longer feels that he is able to serve under Trump, Reuters reported.
“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,” Feeley, a former aide to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, said in a resignation letter shared with Reuters. “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 will continue to serve in his Panama post until March 9, Reuters reported.
Other foreign officials like Hugo Martinez of El Salvador and representatives of the African National Congress are seeking an official response from U.S. authorities regarding Trump’s comments.