Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders refused to call Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a dictator during a Monday town hall event on CNN.
“Senator, why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?” asked CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
The first part of Sanders’ answer included two long pauses as the Vermont democratic socialist seemingly tried to weigh his words in response.
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 elections. 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, so I find it interesting that Trump is kind of selective as to where he is concerned about democracy. 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 gonna be the people of Venezuela who determine the future of their country, not the United States.
Sanders just last week refused to call for Maduro to step down amid reports of an unfair election and the imprisonment and torture of political opponents.
“No,” Sanders responded when anchor Jorge Ramos asked if he considered Maduro his country’s “legitimate dictator.” (RELATED: Venezuelan Immigrant Criticizes Dem Hopefuls For Socialist Policies: CNN Anchor Attempts To Correct Him)
“I think what has to happen right now, I think there are serious questions about the recent election,” Sanders said. “There are many people who feel it was a fraudulent election. And I think the United States has gotta work with the international community to make sure there is a free and fair election in Venezuela.”