Members of the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill clashed this week over the Trump administration’s efforts against the Maduro regime.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., weighed in on Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, praising the White House for its support of Interim President Juan Guaidó, who the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s leader. Rubio, who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leads the U.S. Senate Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, was heartened to see Guaidó in attendance during the address on Tuesday night.
“During today’s State of the Union, President Trump once again reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for the people of Venezuela, Interim President Juan Guaidó, and the democratically-elected National Assembly,” Rubio said on Tuesday. “Since the day Mr. Guaidó assumed the role of Interim President, the U.S. has been a strong voice of support and solidarity to the interim administration, including Venezuela’s one remaining democratic institution, the National Assembly. By inviting Interim President Juan Guaidó and the Special Envoy for Intelligence and Law Enforcement Mr. Iván Simonovis, one of Venezuela’s longest held political prisoners of the Maduro narco-dictatorship, the Trump administration has sent a clear message that the U.S. will continue to stand with the Venezuelan people as they work towards a free and democratic Venezuela.”
“I encouraged President Trump to meet with Interim President Guaidó when we spoke Monday, and I am glad President Trump is taking this historic step today. This meeting, as well as having President Guaidó as his guest to last night’s State of the Union, sends a clear message to Maduro that his time is up. We will never stop fighting to free the people from Maduro’s brutal regime, and the United States will always stand with those fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights,” said U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., on Wednesday.
On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., the first member of Congress to be born in South America and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said Trump’s invitation to Guaidó was simple pandering and bashed the administration for not backing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans fleeing the Maduro regime.
“Americans stand with Venezuelans yearning for freedom and democracy and with Venezuela’s legitimate Interim President Juan Guaidó. My Democratic colleagues and I have proven our support by helping to lead the effort to secure humanitarian aid for Venezuela and to pass bipartisan legislation to extend temporary protected status to Venezuelans. But tonight, the president failed to heed our calls to support granting temporary protected status to Venezuelans during his State of the Union address. Tonight’s political pandering by the president, is yet another illustration of his hypocrisy when it comes to Venezuela,” said Mucarsel-Powell.
“The situation in Venezuela has deteriorated into one of the worst humanitarian crises in the Western Hemisphere and the Trump administration’s lack of strategy and transparency has done little to reassure the more than two hundred thousand Venezuelans in Florida that the administration is taking this seriously. I urge the president to take significant action by supporting TPS for Venezuelans in the U.S., working with our European allies to support the people of Venezuela, and putting pressure on countries like Russia who are helping to prop up Maduro’s authoritarian regime,” she added.
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