Ilhan Omar faces backlash after complaining about United States ‘bullying’ Venezuela.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), is facing backlash after she said that President Trump’s administration made the Venezuelan crisis worse for the people there through “bullying” with sanctions that led to the collapse of Venezuela under socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“You know, I mean, a lot of the policies that we have put in place has [sic] kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, and we have sort of set the stage for where we are arriving today,” Omar said in an interview with the leftist Democracy Now! program.
“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.
Venezuela is currently suffering through the worst economic, political, and humanitarian crisis in its history after nearly two decades of socialist rule. Maduro lost his legal mandate to govern the country in January after his last term was up, when the National Assembly denounced fraudulent elections a year ago and swore in its president, Juan Guaidó, as interim president of the country.
Omar has denounced international support for Guaidó as a “coup” and Guaidó’s party as “far right” despite its membership in the Socialist International. She is among several voices supporting Maduro around the world in opposition to the leaders of 54 countries who accept Guaidó’s legitimacy, according to the PanAm Post, Breitbart reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not hold back Thursday when reacting to Omar’s comments insinuating the U.S. was partly to blame for the political crisis in Venezuela, calling her comments “ignorant” and “disgusting.”
“So, the nicest thing I can say is it is unbelievable ignorance. It’s just factually wrong,” Pompeo said on the “Ingraham Angle.”
The Secretary of State emphasized his displeasure with Omar’s comments and brought up that she sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“For a member of congress, who frankly, one who sits on an important national committee, making a statement blaming America first in this way, it’s not only ignorant, it’s disgusting,” Pompeo said.
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.”
As Venezuelans take to the streets to stand for their freedom against an oppressive dictator, Democrat Congresswoman @IlhanMN chooses socialism over freedom. The Trump Administration stands with the freedom-loving people of Venezuela. https://t.co/UYiPLPvKl5
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 2, 2019
Fox News reports:
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.