Francis Rooney slams Bernie Sanders as siding with Nicolas Maduro
Bernie Sanders, Francis Rooney

Sanders Rooney
Congressman says presidential contender stands against Venezuelan people.

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney accused presidential contender Bernie Sanders of siding with the autocratic regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The Naples Republican during an interview with Fox News criticized Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, for remarks about Maduro.

“It is unsettling to see Americans calling for socialism,” Rooney said.

His comments came after Fox News host Leland Vittert played excerpts from a recent interview Sanders did on Univision. In that interview, Sanders declined to say the U.S. should not recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s president, or to call for Maduro’s removal.

Sanders said Maduro “has been very, very abusive,” but when asked if Maduro should step down, he demurred.

“That is a decision of the Venezuelan people,” Sanders told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.

“There’s got to be a free and fair election. But what must not happen is that the United States must not use military force and intervene again as it has done in the past in Latin America.”

Florida politicians, including Congressional Democrats, already slammed the remarks.

Rooney as a Republican piled on joyously, picking on Sanders’ continued association with the Democratic Socialist Party, even as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Rooney said. “This socialist is siding with Maduro against the rest of his own country and the people of Venezuela, and he wants to be president.”

Rooney said the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela shows why socialist ideals fail.

“We’ve seen for many years socialism and autocracy do not work,” he said. “Democracy, freedom and free enterprise provide a lot better environment for people to flourish and to raise their families, and to provide for them.”

The Florida congressman does see an end to Maduro’s regime soon.

On Saturday, Venezuelan national guardsmen defected and removed obstacles at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge. That allowed waiting humanitarian efforts into the country.

Rooney said the U.S. must continue to back Colombia and Brazil, and spread work to people in Venezuela that food awaited in all directions.

The supply of oil in the nation, Rooney said, showed that the U.S. has long-term reasons to maintain a strategic partnership. The U.S. already recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Rooney greeted news Cuban militia now provided military support for Maduro as a good development.

“That means that the Venezuelan army is continuing to retract itself from the conflict, which is a very positive sign for us,” he said.

He said the country seems on the verge of change.

“I’m confident were reaching a tipping point and that it is going to turn,” he said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Scott Thomason

    February 23, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    As someone who was appointed in 2016 to the CILB and was the only NPA member I was shocked to see my name listed. I was initially appointed to the CILB as one of two Building Officials but switched in March of 2018 to be the Air Conditioning Contractor Representative to make room for another appointment that didn’t materialize. The CILB has two divisions and is supposed to have 9 members on each. Division 2 had 6 members which made it very important that all were in attendance to meet quorum which by statute is 5. Since myself and two other members, both of which are Division 2, have been retracted there is no way quorum can be reached, I’m not sure if the Governor is aware of this.

    • Ron Feezell

      February 23, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Yes Scott hated to see this

Comments are closed.


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