Jason Hopkins, DCNF
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar compared President Donald Trump to Nicolas Maduro, the dictatorial leader of Venezuela.
Speaking Wednesday at a Busboys and Poets town hall in Washington, D.C., Omar argued against U.S. support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. The first-term congresswoman made her case by comparing Maduro’s suppressive regime to that of Trump, according to video obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.
“If we are for the advancement of democracy, what does this country’s Constitution actually call for? You can’t be in the business of recognizing a country’s new leader when you would not allow that for yourself,” the Somali-American lawmaker said, adding that “none of us are happy with the kind of president we have.”
“Now if a foreign country just said, ‘Well, we think because Hillary got lots of votes, we’re just going to acknowledge Hillary as the leader of the United States.’ We would have a problem with that,” Omar said, equating Maduro’s scandal-plagued election victory to that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s loss of the Electoral College.
Omar — sitting alongside Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Pramila Jayapal of Washington state — then attempted to make a constitutional argument against recognizing Venezuela’s opposition leader.
“Our Constitution says that it is not the number of votes you get, but —” Omar stopped as she allowed the audience to answer “electoral votes.”
“Fortunately or unfortunately, that is what our Constitution says. We govern within the Constitution, so we should be in the business of allowing people to govern within their Constitution,” she explained.
While Omar did acknowledge the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, she did not mention in the video that Maduro has been accused of administering an election marred with fraud and voter suppression. The accusations of voter fraud have led to over a dozen countries, including the U.S., to recognize Guaido as the rightful leader of the country.
Venezuela’s economy — devastated by corruption and socialist rule — has continued to fall deeper into crisis. Instead of allowing trucks filled with food, medicine and other aid to enter his country earlier in February, Maduro’s government instead blocked and burned the trucks down.
This is not the first time Omar has compared Trump to autocrats. In a Rolling Stone interview published Wednesday, Omar said impeaching the president is “inevitable” and much like overthrowing a dictator.
“I believe that impeachment is inevitable. It also is a terrifying notion,” she told the magazine. “And we have not had a full impeachment that removes the president from office. Nations struggle any time [they] overthrow a dictator, and Trump really has the markings of a dictator.”
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