Trump’s science envoy resigns with scathing message embedded in letter: ‘I-M-P-E-A-C-H’

US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, before his departure to Yuma, Arizona on Aug 22, 2017.
US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, before his departure to Yuma, Arizona on Aug 22, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - Daniel Kammen, a   renewable energy expert appointed last year as a science envoy to the State Department, quit  on  Wednesday (Aug 23) with a biting message in his resignation letter:  the first letter of each paragraph spelled out “I-M-P-E-A-C-H.

In a resignation letter posted on  Twitter, Kammen wrote that Trump’s remarks about the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia had attacked “core values of the United States” and that it would have “domestic and international ramifications.” 

Demonstrations by white supremacist groups on Aug 12 turned deadly after a neo-Nazi plowed a car into a crowd, killing one counterprotester and injuring at least 19 other people in Charlottesville. Two police officers were also killed when their helicopter crashed.

Trump’s initial response was widely criticised, even by some  members of his own political party, for being insufficient and vague.

Though the president later condemned the hate groups, he went on to effectively undo his conciliatory remarks by giving an off-the-rails news conference days later in which he once again blamed “both sides” in Charlottesville.

Kammen, who was appointed during Barack Obama’s presidency, said it would be unconscionable for him to continue serving the administration after those remarks. He said he stood with “the unequivocal and authoritative statements” of a slew of other public officials, both Democratic and Republican.

“Acts and words matter,” Kammen wrote. “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.” 

However, his most biting message may have come in the form of a hidden acrostic; the first letter of each paragraph spelled out “I-M-P-E-A-C-H.” 

The State Department appointed Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, as one of five US science envoys in March 2016. At the time, Kammen said he would be working on various global energy initiatives, as well as “the wider Paris Accord.” 

In his resignation letter, Kammen also cited other concerns that predated Trump’s Charlottesville comments, including the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in June.

“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 wrote. “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. . . . Your actions to date have, sadly, harmed the quality of life in the United States, our standing abroad, and the sustainability of the planet.” 

During his approximately 18 months as a science envoy, Kammen said, the United States had “built significant partnerships in North and East Africa, and in the Middle East, around shared visions of national security, job creation in the US and sustainable energy.” 

Kammen wrapped up his resignation letter with something of a warning for Trump, borrowing the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “A people (or person) that values its privileges above principles soon loses both.” 

Trump’s response to Charlottesville has cost him the support of a slew of business leaders and Hollywood performers who resigned from various presidential advisory groups.

Last Friday, the members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced they were resigning en masse in a fiery letter.

“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions . . .” the letter stated. “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.” 

That letter also contained a hidden message. The first letters in each of those paragraphs, taken together, spelled out: “R-E-S-I-S-T.”