Pence compares the democratic agenda of health care and energy to socialism



Vice President Pence warned on Friday that the "socialist" policies adopted by the Democrats, including the presidential candidates, could throw the country into the kind of free fall and autocracy ravaging Venezuela.

Pence also said President Trump was right to leave the negotiating table with North Korea on Thursday and promised that the United States would insist on eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons in future talks.

Pence mocked Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Democratic candidate defying President Trump in 2020, as an out-of-touch socialist and health and energy policies endorsed by several other Democrats in the United States. 2020 as a big government.

"Democrats openly advocate for an economic system that has impoverished millions of people around the world," Pence said in a speech delivered at the annual Conservative Action Conference.

"Under the guise of" Medicare-for-all "and a" Green New Deal ", Democrats are adhering to the same tired economic theories that have undermined nations and stifled the freedoms of millions of people over the century last, "said Pence. "This system is socialism."


Vice President Pence speaks at the annual meeting of the conservative action conference at National Harbor near Washington on Friday. (Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

Trump also described the Democrats as socialists and accused them of wanting to transform the United States into Venezuela. Pence expanded the accusation on Friday, linking the 2020 field to the liberal agenda that not all Democrats approve.

Trump will speak at the annual conference on Saturday.

"Medicare for all really means quality health care for none," said Pence. "And the only ecological element of what is called the Green New Deal is the ecological cost that it will cost taxpayers if these people adopt it one day."

The idea that the new democratic agenda was a "socialism" – and that if it were adopted, the United States would switch to the fate of Venezuela – prevailed throughout the conference. Pence invoked "socialism" 18 times, warning that Sanders, who heads the polls of the candidates declared in the Democratic presidential election, was writing the party's program.

"Bernie was joined by a group of newly elected candidates and representatives who blasted the policies of socialism that failed with slogans and clever media campaigns," he said.

Pence was warmly applauded for his references to the anti-abortion and border policies promised by Trump. He also received strong applause for declaring that "anti-Semitism" should be universally condemned. In 2017, Trump criticized an equivocal response to nationalist anti-Semitic and white protesters. Charlottesville.

Pence on Monday called on Latin American leaders in Colombia to do more to oppose the socialist government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and met with opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The United States and most Western countries recognize Guaidó as the country's legitimate leader, but Maduro retains control.

"We know where socialism is leading. You want socialism? Just look at Venezuela, "Pence said Friday.

"Venezuela was once one of the richest and most dynamic democracies in the Western Hemisphere, but under Maduro's socialist regime, it became one of the poorest and most despotic. "said Pence, citing the country's 90 percent poverty rate and millions of refugees fled.

"The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, between socialism and freedom," he said.

The Trump administration has announced new sanctions on Friday against six senior government officials linked to Maduro. The Treasury Department accused the six people of obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The State Department has also imposed new visa restrictions on dozens of Maduro government officials and their families, limiting their travel to the United States.

Although Pence and Trump have repeatedly stated that the military force remains an option for delivering humanitarian aid or defending the interests of the United States, the administration seems to have withdrawn from its rhetoric the most bellicose of the week.

Pence did not repeat the "all options" language at CPAC. Elliott Abrams, the State Department's special envoy for Venezuela, rejected Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's criticism that the United States was preparing for military intervention.

"I do not think he's really thinking that we're trying to do that, and I think, as you know, we're not trying to do that," Abrams said.

"We continue to say and we always want all the options on the table because they always are. But I think anyone who examines US policy in Venezuela could not come to this conclusion. "

Abrams also declined to comment Friday on a tweet from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Suggesting that Maduro could suffer the same fate as the Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was executed.

"I will not go into details except to say that I think the dictatorships are coming to an end. Some last a very long time, others much less, "Abrams told reporters. "The Venezuelan one will also end. We hope this ends quickly and peacefully. "

The Trump administration fears no loss of momentum for the opposition after Maduro's show of force to return the relief trucks last weekend and Guaidó's decision to leave the country for talks with Pence and other leaders, said Abrams.

"What underlies all this is nothing the United States does. What underpins the Venezuelan people is the desire to escape the condition of dictatorship and economic misery that it suffers, and that has not diminished, "said Abrams.

Guaidó was in Brazil Thursday to try to strengthen his support for his challenge against Maduro. He promised to return to Venezuela next Monday, despite threats of imprisonment. Abrams said the United States was concerned about his well-being on his return.

"I think that if he was arrested on his return, there would be a very big reaction from the Venezuelan people and the international community."

Also Thursday, the United States and Russia presented competing measures in Venezuela before the United States Security Council. The board rejected both the American version supporting Guaidó and the Russian version supporting Maduro.

_ David Weigel in Oxon Hill, Maryland, contributed.


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