State Dept. science envoy resigns with hidden message in letter: ‘IMPEACH’

Kammen's resignation is just the latest in a string of resignations following President Trump's comments on the events in Charlottesville.


Citing President Donald Trump’s morally dubious response to the murder of Heather Heyer during a peaceful counter-protest in Charlottesville earlier this month, a science envoy for the State Department openly posted his resignation letter to Twitter on Wednesday. The former envoy, Daniel Kammen, left a hidden message in his letter by using the first letter of each paragraph to spell out the word: “IMPEACH.”

“I am resigning from my position as Science Envoy for the Department of State of the United States,” Kammen posted his resignation letter to Twitter on Wednesday. “Since 1996, I have served the Departments of Energy, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the State Department in a number of roles. Working closely with the talented teams at State Department Headquarters and at U.S. embassies abroad, we have built significant partnerships in North and East Africa, and in the Middle East, around shared visions of national security, job creation in the U.S. and sustainable energy.

“My decision to resign is in response to your attacks on core values of the United States. Your failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis has domestic and international ramifications. On this issue, I stand with the unequivocal and authoritative statements of Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator John McCain, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Dr. Cornell West, Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist and one of the organizers of the Women’s March, and many others.”

Accusing the president of enabling racism and sexism, Kammen alluded to a history of misconduct and bigotry repeatedly exhibited by Trump and his businesses. In March, a federal judge approved a $25 million settlement for former students of Trump University, a federal investigation decades earlier found that Trump employees had intentionally denied applications for leases filed by black people, the president attempted to issue a series of Muslim bans against citizens from countries that he does not have any financial ties to, and Trump initiated his presidential campaign by referring to Mexicans as criminals and “rapists.”

“Particularly troubling to me is how your response to Charlottesville is consistent with a broader pattern of behavior that enables sexism and racism, and disregards the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet,” Kammen continued.

“Examples of this destructive pattern have consequences on my duties as Science Envoy. Your decision to abdicate the leadership opportunities and the job creation benefits of the Paris Climate Accord, and to undermine energy and environmental research are not acceptable to me.

“Acts and words matter. To continue in my role under your administration would be inconsistent with the principles of the United States Oath of Allegiance to which I adhere.

“Character is vital in leadership. I find particularly wise the admonition of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who cautioned that, ‘A people [or person] that values its privileges above principles soon loses both.’

“Herein, with regret, I resign,” Kammen concluded. “I deeply respect and value the work of the many fine people I have encountered in our federal agencies and will miss the opportunity to work with and support them. Your actions to date have, sadly, harmed the quality of life in the United States, our standing abroad, and the sustainability of the planet.”

Appointed by the Obama administration as a science envoy for the State Department in March 2016, Kammen worked as an energy professor at the University of California at Berkeley. On Wednesday, a representative from the State Department said, “Today, Dr. Daniel Kammen made a personal decision to resign. We appreciate his dedicated service to U.S. scientific diplomacy during his appointment working on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Africa as a Science Envoy.”

Kammen’s resignation followed in the wake of the mass exodus from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council and the president’s Strategy & Policy Forum. Prior to the tragic events of Charlotteville, Walter Shaub Jr., Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, resigned after Trump and his administration repeatedly refused to comply with basic ethics rules. In June, DOJ corporate compliance watchdog Hui Chen resigned due to the incessant ethical flaws emanating from the Trump administration.

During a typical Trump rally in Arizona on Tuesday night, Trump hinted at a presidential pardon for disgraced Sheriff Joe Arpaio while misquoting his own statements regarding the recent events in Charlottesville. Trump failed to admit placing blame “on many sides,” and omitted his remarks defending white supremacists.


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