President Donald Trump is open to a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, he told Axios in an interview.
This is despite his administration’s full support to Maduro’s rival, Juan Guaidó, said a CBS News report.
“I would maybe think about that,” Trump told Axios on the possible meeting with Maduro. “Maduro would like to meet, and I’m never opposed to meetings.” He emphasized that one “lose very little with meetings.
However, Trump also acknowledged that he had rejected previous requests from the Venezuelan president.
Trump said via Twitter that, he would only meet with Maduro to discuss about a “peaceful exit from power.”
A former Trump administration official told CBS News that, Venezuela had reached out to the White house before for a possible meeting with Trump.
In January, Maduro confirmed in an interview with the Washington Post that he repeatedly tried to contact Trump for direct negotiations with the US.
Lack of Confidence
The interview with Axios came after Trump’s former secretary adviser prepares the release of his tell-all expose about his time in the White House.
Trump’s former national secretary adviser, John Bolton, wrote that, Trump thinks Maduro is “strong” and Guaidó is “weak”.
A CBS News source confirmed Trump’s opinion on the two leaders.
Furthermore, there have been concerns in 2017 on Trump’s willingness to meet with Maduro.
Aside from US, around 60 other countries recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
CBS News report said that, Trump’s possible meeting with Maduro would probably annoy lawmakers, especially those representing Florida.
“It is a sad day for the Venezuelan people, democracy and American leadership”, said Florida Congresswoman Donna Shalala. “I stand with Juan Guaidó and the people of Venezuela.
Florida has many immigrants from Venezuela. In addition, Trump won the state in 2016.
A former administration official said that, Trump “wants to have a win on the issue,” for himself, and not mainly for the Venezuelans.