Venezuela's Maduro says he fears 'bad' people around Trump

Venezuela's Maduro says he fears 'bad' people around Trump

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE is surrounded by “bad” officials who are advising him during the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country.

“I fear the people that are around him,” Maduro told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

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“I think these people surrounding President Trump and advising him on Venezuelan policies are bad, and I think that at one point, President Trump will have to say ‘stop, stop, we have to see what happens with Venezuela,’ and change his politics.”

The comments come a day after the Trump administration ramped up sanctions to pressure Maduro to leave office and allow Juan Guaidó, an opposition leader the U.S. and other world powers recognize as Venezuela’s interim president, to take power. Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term earlier this year, but the U.S. declared his election illegitimate.

The White House called for a peaceful solution to the leadership battle, which has resulted in violent street demonstrations. However, Trump has maintained that using military force to remove Maduro from power is not off the table. 

Maduro racked through a list of administration officials who he says are providing Trump with faulty advice, including national security adviser John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s point person on Venezuela, former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE and Vice President Pence. 

“John Bolton, an extremist and expert of the Cold War. Elliott Abrams, a liar that trafficked arms and drugs in Central America and the world and brought war to the United States. I fear Mike Pompeo, a CIA agent who has an antiquated scheme of old intelligence from the Cold War. I fear Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOfficers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement MORE, who is a man who does not know world politics, unaware of Latin American politics,” he said. 

Maduro has not made any indications he intends to abdicate and still has control over the military, a potent factor of the leadership struggle that has helped him officially remain at the country’s helm despite widespread shunning from the international community.