Donald Trump Clarifies: I Would Only Meet Nicolas Maduro to Discuss Exit from Power

AFP/File FEDERICO PARRA, JIM WATSON
FEDERICO PARRA, JIM WATSON/AFP

President Donald Trump on Monday reaffirmed his support of the people of Venezuela, despite appearing open to meeting with their brutal dictator Nicolas Maduro.

“My Administration has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!”

Trump commented after signaling in an interview with Axios he might be open to meeting Maduro, despite previously turning down his requests.

“I would maybe think about that. … Maduro would like to meet. And I’m never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings,” Trump said. “I always say, you lose very little with meetings. But at this moment, I’ve turned them down.”

The president also discussed his support for Acting President Juan Guaidó despite Maduro’s sustained grip on power.

“I was OK with it,” he said about the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Guaidó’s claim to the presidency. “I don’t think it was — you know, I don’t think it was very meaningful one way or the other.”

Trump reassured Venezuelans he would continue to stand with them against socialism.

“Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton recently complained in his book that President Trump blamed him for failing to push Maduro from power.

“It was far from helpful but typical of how Trump carelessly defamed those around him, as when he began blaming me for the opposition’s failure to overthrow Maduro,” Bolton wrote.

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