Why Bernie Sanders won't call Venezuela's Maduro a dictator

In his CNN town hall Monday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., explained why he hesitates to call embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro a dictator. Maduro won reelection last May in what many saw as an illegitimate election wrought with fraud. That alone isn’t enough for Sanders to call him a dictator, and after a short stutter, he was able to explain why.

“It’s fair to say that the last election was undemocratic, but there are still democratic operations taking place in that country,” Sanders said. “The point is, what I am calling for right now is internationally supervised free elections.”

President Trump has taken a special interest in Venezuela, even going so far as to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, and Sanders took this opportunity to question why Trump attacks one oppressive regime but is friendly with another.

“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,” Sanders said. “Oh, women are treated as third-class citizens. So I find it interesting that Trump is kind of selective as to where he is concerned about democracy.”

Since they were on the subject of dictators, naturally, Sanders was asked about Trump’s second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Sanders actually complimented the president and encouraged him to take things further.

“I think that the idea of going and meeting face-to-face with your adversaries is a good idea,” Sanders said. “I would like the president of the United States to bring Iran and Saudi Arabia together. To bring the Palestinians and the Israelis together.”

Check out Bernie Sanders’s response to claims of sexual harassment on his 2016 campaign:

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