President Donald Trump criticized the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro in harsh terms in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. And the Maduro regime responded in kind.
But the Venezuelan insult may have backfired, as it compared Trump to Ronald Reagan, as if that were a devastaing insult.
Trump not only slammed the regime’s treatment of its citizens, but also attacked the socialist ideology at its core:
The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.
In response, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, according to Agency France-Presse: “This racist and supremacist theory which he’s exposing, this return to the Cold War, for a moment we didn’t know if we were listening to president Reagan in 1982 or President Trump in 2017.”
To the global left, which includes many of the diplomats seated in the General Assembly, Reagan is still an enemy for having destroyed the communist empire.
But he is still revered by Americans — even by many Democrats — and Trump supporters often delight in comparing their champion to Reagan, who was also a reformist conservative, a political outsider, a former Democrat, and the scourge of the mainstream media and the global diplomatic elite.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.