U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson announced on Thursday that she will resign from her post in May. Jacobson is an Obama-appointee.
Jacobson’s decision comes as relations between the neighboring countries are under a lot of strain with President Donald Trump’s strong insistence that Mexico should pay for a border wall, and his threats to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the terms of which he feels are disadvantageous to the U.S.
Jacobson took to Twitter to share her sentiments about leaving her post. She posted originally in Spanish the message: “After 31 years of serving the U.S. government, I will leave at the beginning of May in search of new opportunities. I leave knowing that the U.S.-Mexico relation is strong and crucial. Together we are stronger!”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://t.co/RBQM5xQVA8">pic.twitter.com/RBQM5xQVA8</a></p>— Roberta Jacobson (@EmbRoberta) <a href="https://twitter.com/EmbRoberta/status/969267104456298500?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 1, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Jacobson still doesn’t know who will be her replacement in May.
On Thursday, Mexican newspaper Reforma reported that Trump is planning to nominate former AT&T Chief Executive Ed Whitacre as the next ambassador to Mexico.
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson already informed his Mexican counterpart, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, in a February 17 phone call about Jacobson’s resignation.
Jacobson became ambassador to Mexico in May 2016 during the dying months of the Obama presidency. Previous to that, she served as the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. It was initially thought that she would be immediately replaced by Trump when he took over the White House in January last year owing to her links with the Obama administration, and her often vocal disagreement with some of Trump’s declarations, especially on the issue of the proposed border wall. The border wall also happens to be one of Trump’s strongest campaign pitches, saying the country needs it to protect the American people from the bad elements coming from Mexico and illegally entering the U.S.
Jacobson has not been as effective a diplomat, after all, and has been viewed mostly as a lame duck. Mexican diplomats chose to channel U.S. foreign policy concerns through White House advisors, and particularly, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.