Trump clarifies meeting with Venezuela’s Maduro would be to make him step down

President Trump said on Monday that he would be happy to meet with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, but only to get him to step down.

“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!,” the president said in a tweet.

“I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!,” Trump added.

The US is among the countries that do not recognize Maduro as the leader of the South American country and have thrown their support behind Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader.

The tweet clarified comments Trump made in an interview published Sunday night with Axios in which he said he would be open to sitting down with the authoritarian Maduro, who was charged earlier this year by the Department of Justice with drug trafficking and narco terror.

“I would maybe think about that. … Maduro would like to meet,” the president told Axios in an Oval Office interview last Friday. “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,” he added.

In the interview, he also appeared to be cooling on Guaidó, whom he invited to his State of the Union address this year.

During a debate among his administration officials about Guaidó, Trump said he weighed in.

“I think 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 meaningful one way or the other,” he told Axios.

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