Lewis Lukens, the former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, says he was fired for mentioning former President Barack Obama in a speech last year.

Lukens, who held the post until November 2018, told GQ Magazine he mentioned Obama during a pair of speeches he gave to British universities in October of that year. He told an anecdote about his time serving as an ambassador to Senegal during a visit by  Obama to explain how allied countries handle disagreements with each other. 

“There was incredible excitement,” Lukens said in the remarks. “He had a guard of honor, crowds shouting his name, street vendors selling WE LOVE OBAMA T-shirts. It was really amazing. And the president had really great talks with the Senegalese president, Macky Sall. They got on really well. But what I remember most of all was the disagreement they had—as friends,” GQ quoted Lukensas saying Tuesday. That disagreement was over the country's criminalization of same-sex relationships, which Obama opposed. Sall and Obama had a firm but polite public disagreement about those laws.

Lukens alleges that his boss, U.S. Ambassador and Trump appointee Woody Johnson, told him a week later he was fired  because he had mentioned Obama in his remarks. 

“There’s a higher level of mistrust from political ambassadors of career FSOs than I’ve ever seen in my life,” Lukens told GQ of the climate for diplomats working under the Trump administration . “Many of Trump’s political ambassadors have an unfounded belief that government bureaucrats are overwhelmingly Democrats and liberals and working against Trump’s agenda, and that’s just not the case.”

Lukens is a career diplomat who served in the federal government for almost 30 years; he had worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents. The State Department declined to comment on the story to GQ, while the U.S. Embassy did not reply to a request for comment.