The United States ambassador to Mexico said Thursday she will resign from her post in May, making her the latest in a long string of officials to leave the State Department under President Donald Trump.
Roberta Jacobson made the announcement in a tweet in Spanish on Thursday, saying she would be leaving her ambassadorship “in search of other opportunities.”
Earlier in the day, she told embassy staff the choice to leave was a tough one.
“After more than thirty-one years of U.S. Government service, I have come to the difficult decision that it is the right time to move on to new challenges and adventures,” she wrote in the memo, according to the Associated Press. “This decision is all the more difficult because of my profound belief in the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and knowledge that it is at a crucial moment.”
The resignation comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Mexico. Many of Trump’s actions — from his inflammatory language on immigration and plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants to his insistence on getting Mexico to pay for a border wall and his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement — have caused concern among Mexican officials.
Recently, the Washington Post reported that tentative plans for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieta to visit Washington, D.C. were canceled after a combative phone call during which Trump refused to publicly say that Mexico will not pay for the border wall between the two countries.
Jacobson was nominated to be ambassador by former President Barack Obama in 2015, but served for just two years after it took Congress 11 months to confirm her to the position. Before the ambassadorship, she worked for roughly three decades in the State Department, where she was one of the government’s most experienced Latin America experts, according to the New York Times.
While Jacobson did not mention her replacement in her announcement, the Trump administration seems to have someone ready to fill her role. Officials say the White House plans to nominate Ed Whitacre, a former chairman and CEO of General Motors, according to the AP.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told them about Jacobson’s resignation on Feb. 17. Then three days later, on Feb. 20, the U.S. State Department submitted a request for Mexico to approve the new ambassador, and the Mexican Foreign Ministry said it granted that request on Feb. 26.
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