Trump to meet with Venezuelan opposition leader at the White House

Trump to meet with Venezuelan opposition leader at the White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE will meet with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó at the White House on Wednesday.

The meeting comes after Guaidó attended Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening, where he was recognized by the American president during the 90-minute address.  

The United States has backed Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela and declared its embattled leader President Nicolás Maduro illegitimate. The South American country is currently facing a humanitarian crisis.

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“The visit is an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the people of Venezuela and to discuss how we can work with President Guaido to expedite a democratic transition in Venezuela that will end the ongoing crisis,” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamOAN says it will attend briefing as White House guest after violating social distancing rules UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus White House press secretary to return to work after negative virus test MORE said in a statement Wednesday morning.

“We will continue to work with our partners in the region to confront the illegitimate dictatorship in Venezuela, and we will stand alongside the Venezuelan people to ensure a future that is democratic and prosperous,” Grisham continued.

Trump recognized Guaidó during his remarks Tuesday night, and both Republicans and Democrats stood to applaud Guaidó in a rare moment of bipartisanship in the chamber.

“Here this evening is a very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans,” Trump said during his third State of the Union address, before using the moment to issue a pointed criticism of “socialism.”

“Please take this message back that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” Trump said. "Socialism destroys nations. But always remember — freedom unifies the soul.”

Trump is scheduled to welcome Guaidó at 2 p.m. and will meet with him in the Oval Office, according to updated guidance issued by the White House. 

Vice President Pence also met with Guaidó Wednesday morning before departing Washington, D.C., for a trip to Pennsylvania, according to a spokesman.