WASHINGTON, D.C./CARACAS – President Donald Trump stated that he would consider meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and expressed a noted lack of enthusiasm for the country’s Deep State-backed opposition leader in a new interview published Sunday.
“I would maybe think about that,” Trump said when asked about the possibility of meeting with Maduro during an Oval Office interview with Axios on Friday, adding, “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 noted.
The president was also reportedly less than enthusiastic about his administration’s decision to back Juan Guaido, who declared himself president of Venezuela following the country’s disputed 2018 election.
“I could have lived with it or without it, but I was very firmly against what’s going on in Venezuela,” Trump told Axios when asked if he regretted his decision to go along with former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s urging to support Guaido.
“Guaido was elected,” Trump said, adding, “I think that I wasn’t necessarily in favor, but I said — some people that liked it, some people didn’t. I was OK with it. I don’t think it was — you know, I don’t think it was very meaningful one way or the other.”
The president’s comments come after excerpts from Bolton’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”, alleged that Trump had been wishy-washy on Guaido from the start. According to Bolton, Trump stated that the opposition leader was weak like a “kid”, describing him as the “Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela”.
Trump’s comments about Maduro appear to undercut his administration’s hardline approach to Venezuela. The Justice Department in March charged Maduro and 13 other Venezuelan officials with narcoterrorism, and the Deep State in August 2019 expanded sanctions against the country into an embargo.