Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Bethany Milton spent 11 years working for the U.S. federal government as a consular officer in the Foreign Service. But in an op-ed for the New York Times, Milton explains that this summer, she finally decided to leave the State Department — and the straw that broke the camel’s back was hearing supporters of President Donald Trump chanting, “Send her back, send her back” in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar during a recent rally.
“When President Trump’s supporters chanted, ‘Send her back!’ I took that as a charge for me as well,” Milton asserts. “I asked the Trump Administration to send me back from my overseas posting, shipping home the family, foreign language textbooks and various tchotchkes from ‘shithole countries’ that I’ve collected in my years as a United States diplomat. I am joining a growing list of Foreign Service officers who refuse to serve this administration any longer.”
Milton, in her op-ed, explains that she has a long resumé with the federal government. From 2014-2016, for example, she “oversaw immigrant visa processing at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai, India” — and she “oversaw immigrant visa operations in Kigali, Rwanda, from 2018 to 2019.”
Milton recalls that when she joined the U.S. State Department in 2008, she sat through some presentations as part of her orientation. And in one of them, she was told, “The day you can no longer publicly support your administration’s policies is the day you need to resign.” And for Milton, she writes in her op-ed, that day came when she found the “Send her back, send her back” chants intolerable.
She also noted that there is a “growing exodus” from the executive branch under Trump.
“As a Foreign Service officer, your job is to support the administration,” Milton explains. “Without exception. Despite my personal views, I spent more than two years working to carry out the Administration’s immigration and foreign policy priorities. I continued to do so until the very minute I handed in my badge and headed to the airport.”
Milton wraps up her op-ed by noting that having left the State Department, she now has a new priority — and it involves doing her part to prevent Trump from being reelected in 2020.
“On Friday,” Milton writes, “I cleared immigration and officially returned to life as a private citizen. And today, I have a new challenge: putting my time and energy into helping elect new leadership that serves the true interests of all Americans, regardless of where they were born.”