America's top diplomat in China has stepped down because he refuses to implement President Trump's policies. David Rank, a career diplomat with 27 years in the foreign service, had been acting ambassador in Beijing since January 2016 and chose to depart even though his replacement, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, hasn't arrived in China yet, the New York Daily News reports. Sources tell the Washington Post that Rank held a meeting with embassy workers to explain that he was resigning over Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate change accord.
Rank, who is known for his interest in environmental issues, told workers that as "a parent, a patriot, and a Christian," his conscience would not allow him to implement Trump's directives, the Post's sources say. Congress confirmed Branstad as US ambassador to China last month, but he is still undergoing diplomat training. The State Department confirmed that Rank, whose service took him to countries including Afghanistan and Greece, is retiring, the AP reports. The department called it a "personal decision" and did not comment on the reason. (Read more China stories.)