The Biden administration has responded to outgoing U.S. special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, and one official reportedly even accused the diplomat of having a “toxic personality.”
Foote, who was appointed special envoy to Haiti in July, announced that he was stepping away from the position in a widely reported letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He had started his new position as envoy soon after Haiti’s president was assassinated, a killing which is still under investigation.
Many in the Biden administration are now taking offense at Foote’s rationale for his resignation, which he claimed to be about the treatment of Haitian illegal immigrants. One PBS reporter, Yamiche Alcindor, said that she was told by an administration official that Foote had a “toxic personality” and that he frequently would “shout people down and cut people off.”
Both Ned Price of the State Department and Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki have called out Foote publicly for his resignation.
“This is a challenging moment that requires leadership. It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation,” Price said.
He also contested, “He failed to take advantage of ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure and chose to resign instead.”
Psaki called Foote out at a Thursday White House press briefing. “I would note that Special Envoy Foote had ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure. He never once did so. Now, that wasn’t his purview,” she said.
Psaki continued, “His purview was, of course, being the special envoy on the ground. His positions were and his views were put forward. They were valued. They were heard. Different policy decisions were made in some circumstances.”
The diplomat said in his letter that he took issue with the Biden administration’s deportation of Haitian’s from where thousands of illegal immigrants have gathered in Del Rio, Texas.
“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” Foote wrote.
“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own,” he added.
Recent reports indicate that the deportations might not be happening in as large a fashion as claimed by the administration.
Although some in the Biden administration have claimed that they are deporting large amounts of migrants, other administration officials have said that a good amount of them are actually being released into the United States after processing. One official told the AP that releases of Haitians were happening on a “very, very large scale.”