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Bernie Sanders defends not calling Venezuela's Maduro a 'dictator.' But here's what he once suggested about Trump.
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Bernie Sanders defends not calling Venezuela's Maduro a 'dictator.' But here's what he once suggested about Trump.


During a CNN town hall Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, defended his decision not to condemn controversial Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro as a "dictator."

However, Sanders once made the overt suggestion that President Donald Trump ran for president to be a dictator.

What did Sanders say Monday?

"Senator, why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?" CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked.

Sanders ignored the question altogether, instead offering a response about Venezuela's last national election.

"Well, he, I think it's fair to say that the last election was undemocratic. But there are still democratic operations taking place in their country. The point is, what I am calling for right now is internationally supervised free election," Sanders said.

Then Sanders berated Trump — still ignoring Blitzer's question.

"And I do find it interesting that Trump is very concerned about what goes on in Venezuela but what about the last election that took place in Saudi Arabia? Oh, there wasn't any election in Saudi Arabia, oh, women are treated as third-class citizens," Sanders chided.

"So I find it interesting that Trump is kind of selective as to where he is concerned about democracy," he added. "My record is to be concerned about democracy all over the world. So we've got to do everything we can, but at the end of the day, it's going to be the people of Venezuela who determine the future of their country, not the United States of America."

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has taken a definitive position on Maduro, no longer acknowledging him as the leader of Venezuela. Instead, the U.S. recognizes Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's president, along with a majority of American allies in Europe.

What did Sanders say about Trump before?

During the 2016 presidential election, before Trump was elected to the White House, Sanders, who lost the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, suggested Trump was running to become the dictator of America.

Later during his town hall Monday, Sanders refused to guarantee that America would not become a socialist country if he is elected president. Trump, on the other hand, made a definitive declaration against socialism during his State of the Union address earlier this month.

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