The State Department recalled its ambassador to Zambia after the country’s leader complained about his criticism of its corruption and anti-gay policies, CNN reports.
US Ambassador Daniel Foote, a career diplomat appointed as ambassador by Trump in 2017, said in a statement earlier this month criticizing those in the country who compare homosexuality to bestiality and said he was dismayed by the "venom and hate" he encountered for criticizing a 15-year sentence for a gay couple.
Foote also called out government officials for "stealing millions of dollars in public funds.”
"The current government of Zambia wants foreign diplomats to be compliant, with open pocketbooks and closed mouths," Foote wrote, adding that the US provides "$500 million in annual American, debt-free support to the Zambian people."
Foote recalled by State Department:
A State Department spokesperson told CNN that the department was "dismayed by the Zambian government's statement that Ambassador Foote's position 'is no longer tenable,' which we consider to be the equivalent of a declaration that the Ambassador is Persona Non Grata... The United States firmly opposes abuses against LGBTI persons."
The statement came after Foote said in his statement that he has not seen any significant improvements since his appointment.
"In my two years, I have strived to improve the U.S.-Zambia partnership, with minimal success," he wrote. "Let us stop the façade that our governments enjoy 'warm and cordial' relations. The current government of Zambia wants foreign diplomats to be compliant, with open pocketbooks and closed mouths."
Foote ousted after president complained:
Foote was recalled after state media reported that Zambian President Edgar Lungu called for his ouster.
"We have complained officially to the American government, and we are waiting for their response,” Lungu said, according to CNN.
Lungu said Foote’s comments were “disrespectful” while defending the country’s anti-gay laws by comparing homosexuality to bestiality.