Jun 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he would only meet Maduro to discuss "peaceful exit from power"

Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

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.
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