Trump envoy embeds 'IMPEACH' in goodbye letter

Professor of nuclear engineering joins elite list of quitters who have resigned in style

Donald Trump
Donald Trump boards Air Force One
(Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

When Daniel Kammen quit as science envoy to the US State Department, his resignation letter was headline news – but not for the usual reasons.

The University of California Berkeley scientist's letter outlined his disagreement with Donald Trump over the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, while spelling out "IMPEACH" with the first letter of each paragraph.

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Kammen is not the first of Trump's detractors to use an acrostic to hide a protest message, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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On 18 August, 17 members of the president's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, resigned en masse. Their letter spelled "RESIST" with the first letter of each paragraph.

"From now on, any such letters from Trump appointees – and there may be many more to come – will be painstakingly parsed for code, with points awarded for new variations," the Los Angeles Times says. "The simple acrostic employed by Kammen and the arts and humanities committee could quickly become old hat."

Nor is Kammen's the best resignation stunt. Here are some memorable farewells:

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Conservative politician Geoffrey Howe used a cricket metaphor to help bring down then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, saying her actions were "like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them tofind… that their bats have been broken… by the team captain".

Howe was an unlikely assassin – watching him deliver his resignation was like seeing Thatcher "savaged by a dead sheep", said Labour's Denis Healey. Nevertheless, his speech led to Thatcher's downfall, andhis name has since become a by-word for Parliamentary hit-jobs.

Greg Smith

Greg Smith's open letter of resignation in 2012 began "Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs" and went on to describe the London office as the "Wild West". Not content to leave quietly, Smith delivered the resignation to bosses as an op-ed piece in the New York Times.

Jonathan Schwartz

Style points to Jonathan Schwartz, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, who became the first Fortune 200 executive to quit on Twitter via haiku: "Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more".

Daniel Kammen

So far, it's unclear whether President Trump has seen Kammen's resignation, although Kammen did tweet it, just in case.

"We don’t know whether President Trump is a particular fan of wordplay, or whether his staff will have the spine to direct his attention to the hidden message," the Los Angeles Times says. "He's probably not the target audience for a message calling for his impeachment anyway."

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