Trump says he would only meet Maduro to discuss "peaceful exit from power"
President Trump tweeted Monday that he would only meet with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro "to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power."
Why it matters: The president's comments represent a backtrack from his interview with Axios' Jonathan Swan last week, where he set no such precondition for a Maduro meeting and suggested he's had second thoughts about his decision to recognize Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate leader.
- Trump told Swan: "I would maybe think about that. ... Maduro would like to meet. And I'm never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings. I always say, you lose very little with meetings. But at this moment, I've turned them down."
- Trump tweeted: "Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela. My Admin has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime! I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!"
The big picture: Trump's comments during his interview with Axios drew ire from top lawmakers and other officials in South Florida, per CBS Miami.
- "The president’s words and actions are putting in danger the future of Venezuela, and the pattern is clear: Trump stands with dictators and authoritarians and desires to be one," said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), the first member of Congress born in South America.