President Donald Trump said today that his ideas regarding Cuba and Venezuela are “tougher” than those of his recently fired national security advisor, John Bolton, and that he “contained” him so as not to take more severe measures.
“My ideas about Venezuela, and especially Cuba, were much harsher than John Bolton’s. He was holding me back,” Trump wrote on his Twitter account.
Trump nuanced the statements he made Wednesday in response to a question from Efe in the Oval Office, where he said he was “at odds with John Bolton regarding his attitude toward Venezuela”.
“I think he crossed the line quite a bit, and I think it’s been proven that I was right,” Trump added then.
That comment seemed to worry Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who tweet today that he had spoken to Trump on the phone about Venezuela policy.
“It is true that (Trump) disagreed with some of the opinions of his former advisor. But, as he reminded me, (what he thinks) is actually DIRECTLY THE OPPOSITE of what many claim or assume,” Rubio wrote.
“If, in fact, he ends up changing the direction of the policy toward Venezuela, it won’t be to weaken it,” added the Florida senator, who is one of the most influential figures in Trump’s policy toward Latin America.
Trump’s brief tweet defending his hard line in Venezuela was a response to Rubio’s message a few hours earlier.
In his comments Wednesday in the Oval Office, Trump avoided clarifying whether his doctrine regarding Venezuela could change now that Bolton has left office, and merely indicated that he has a “firm policy” toward that country.
“Venezuela is having a really bad time, and we are trying to help them in a humanitarian way,” Trump said.
The president insinuated that his priority is said assistance and not to “crush the terrible regime” of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, as Bolton wanted.
However, with his new tweet after talking on the phone with Rubio, who supported Bolton’s strategy, the president signaled that he is willing to go ahead with the campaign to overthrow Maduro.
In recent months, Trump has shown signs of frustration at the lack of results in the strategy toward Venezuela, after the White House began an international campaign in January to overthrow opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
The president accused Bolton last May of wanting to put him “in a war” in Venezuela, according to The Washington Post.