Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) slams the Trump administration’s policies amid ongoing turmoil in Venezuela, saying a lot of the policies ‘kind of helped the devastation’ there.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., faced a wave of criticism after she argued that President Donald Trump’s administration made the Venezuelan crisis worse through “bullying” and applying sanctions to the nation.
“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela and we have sort of set the stage for where we are arriving today,” she told PBS’ “Democracy Now!”
“This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States,” she added.
Omar’s comments came as the administration struggled to handle the crisis in Venezuela where both Russia and Cuba attempted to exert influence over the potential transfer of power from dictator Nicolas Maduro to opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Vice President Mike Pence responded to Omar’s comments Thursday morning by accusing her of choosing socialism over freedom.
“As Venezuelans take to the streets to stand for their freedom against an oppressive dictator, Democrat Congresswoman @IlhanMN chooses socialism over freedom,” Pence tweeted.
“The Trump Administration stands with the freedom-loving people of Venezuela.”
Omar appeared to respond later on Thursday, apparently comparing Pence’s response to the way people criticized opponents of the Iraq War.
“Just as in interventions past, those who oppose war are labeled supporters of dictators and haters of ‘freedom,'” she said.
“We saw this playbook in Iraq. The situation in Venezuela is dire and the Trump Admin is making it worse. We must support diplomacy, not war.”
Omar similarly told Fox News that while the U.S. should provide guidance and support for democratic governance, it shouldn’t push for regime change.
“The United States role should be one that is advocating for there to be fair elections, it should be one of guidance and technical support,” she said.
“I don’t believe that interventions that are pushing for regime change are in the best interest of Venezuela and the best interest of the American people.”
Trump’s administration has emphatically thrown his support behind Guaido’s movement while both national security adviser John Bolton and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. have indicated that military intervention was still on the table.
Fox News’ Patrick Ward contributed to this report.
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