WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has rejected a phone call request from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the White House said late Friday night.
A statement by the White House press secretary says, “Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”
Trump said earlier Friday that he wouldn’t rule out military action against Venezuela in response to the country’s descent into political chaos following Maduro’s power grab.
In rejecting Maduro’s request to talk, The White House says: “Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people. … Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship.”
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s Defense Minister is calling Trump’s talk of a military intervention an act of “craziness” and “supreme extremism.”
Gen. Vladimir Padrino says, “With this extremist elite that’s in charge in the U.S., who knows what will happen to the world?”
Padrino is a close ally of Maduro.
His remarks are the first by a high-level Venezuelan official and come ahead of an expected statement by Maduro’s government.