US ambassador to Mexico to step down in May
Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, will step down from her post in May.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve my country as ambassador to Mexico,” Jacobson said in statement on Twitter on Thursday. “After serving the U.S. government for 31 years, I will be parting ways in May to pursue other opportunities.”
— Roberta Jacobson (@EmbRoberta) March 1, 2018
Jacobson’s planned retirement is the latest in a series of diplomatic departures under the Trump administration and comes at a moment of rocky relations between the U.S. and Mexico.
Jacobson made her decision known in a memo to embassy staff on Thursday.
“I have come to the difficult decision that it is the right time to move on to new challenges and adventures,” Jacobson wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill. “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 New York Times first reported Jacobson’s planned departure.
Steve Goldstein, the deputy under secretary of State for public diplomacy, said Thursday that Jacobson agreed to stay in her role until May to facilitate the transition process. He said Jacobson informed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of her decision last month, while he was visiting Mexico City.
“We appreciate everything she’s done and wish her well,” Goldstein said in an email to The Hill.
According to the Times, the Trump administration has chosen a replacement for Jacobson but has not yet released that person’s name.
Jacobson, who is among the State Department’s top Latin America experts, was named to the ambassadorship in 2015 by then-President Obama. But she faced a grueling 11-month confirmation fight in the Senate, before finally stepping into the post in May 2016.
Her planned retirement comes during a period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Mexico. President Trump has often taken an antagonistic approach toward the country, vowing to build a wall along U.S.-Mexico border that he has claimed Mexico will pay for. Mexican officials, however, have rejected that demand.
At the same time, Trump has threatened to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, which he has claimed is unfair to the U.S.
The Washington Post reported last month that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently scrapped a planned visit to the White House after a contentious phone call with Trump concerning the border wall.
Updated at 3:00 p.m.