Jun 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Top State Department official resigns over Trump's response to racial injustice

Grassley and Mary Elizabeth Taylor

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, right, watches Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley swear in Judge Neil Gorsuch in March 2017. Photo: Stephen Crowley-Pool/Getty Images

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the first black woman to serve as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, resigned from the State Department on Thursday in apparent protest of President Trump's response to weeks of nationwide unrest over the killing of George Floyd, the Washington Post reports.

What she's saying: “Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor wrote in a resignation letter obtained by the Post.

  • “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs," Taylor said in her letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • “I am deeply grateful to you, Mr. Secretary, for empowering me to lead this team and strategically advise you over these last two years. You have shown grace and respect in listening to my opinions, and your remarkable leadership have made me a better leader and team member. I appreciate that you understand my strong loyalty to my personal convictions and values, particularly in light of recent events.”

Between the lines: 54% of Americans — and 22% of Republicans — said in a recent poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that Trump has made things worse after the killing of George Floyd and following weeks of protest.

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