White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday said “nothing has changed” on the administration’s policy toward Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro after President Trump said in a recent interview that he’d be open to meeting with Mr. Maduro.
“Nothing has changed. He continues to recognize Juan Guaido as the leader of Venezuela,” Ms. McEnany told reporters at the White House.
“He has not lost confidence at all” in Mr. Guaido, she said.
Earlier Monday, Mr. Trump said he would only meet with Mr. Maduro to talk about a “peaceful exit from power.”
Mr. Trump has rebuked Mr. Maduro, and the administration had previously recognized Mr. Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
Mr. Guaido attended the president’s State of the Union address in February as Mr. Trump’s guest.
“Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela,” the president said on Twitter. “My Admin has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime! I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!”
He told Axios in an interview late last week that he’s open to meeting with Mr. Maduro and appeared to be somewhat cool on Mr. Guaido.
Former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton wrote in his new book that Mr. Trump saw Mr. Guaido as “weak” and Mr. Maduro as “strong.”
Mr. Bolton wrote that Mr. Trump had drawn unfavorable comparisons between Mr. Guaido and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the failed U.S. Senate and Democratic presidential candidate.
The president has dismissed Mr. Bolton as a liar and a “wacko.”