The Treasury Secretary and National Security Advisor delivered a statement announcing sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro following his regime's efforts to seize dictatorial power. They threatened that further sanctions could be imposed on more individuals in the government if the unacceptable actions continue.
U.S. officials described the election held in Venezuela on Sunday as a "sham" and said if the results stand, they could turn Venezuela into a full-fledged dictatorship.
"Maduro is not just a bad leader, he is now a dictator," National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said Monday afternoon. McMaster also said that Maduro was joining an exclusive "club" of outlaw world leaders, joining Bashar al-Assad, Kim Jong Un, and Robert Mugabe.
"Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy."
Trump administration UN Secretary Nikki Haley weighed in Sunday on Twitter:
Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship. We won't accept an illegit govt. The Venezuelan ppl & democracy will prevail.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) July 30, 2017