Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said there will be significant and immediate consequences for Nicolas Maduro if Juan Guaido, the interim president of Venezuela, is harmed. Rubio added President Trump isn't bluffing or playing games and if he says he is going to do something, he will do it.
"The administration has been pretty clear about this," Rubio said in an interview with FOX News host Martha MacCallum. "If something were to happen to him or, God forbid, to our diplomats or members of the national assembly, or the general public who’s peacefully protesting, there is going to be swift and immediate and significant consequences. And I can tell you that it’s not for me to decide what they are, or to announce them."
"I’m just telling everyone. Believe me when I tell you that there will be significant consequences for Maduro, there’ll be no future for him," Rubio said Thursday.
Transcript, via FOX News:
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Russia and China issuing a string of blistering message directed at the United States. They are telling us that we need to stay out of the power struggle that is now underway in Venezuela. This as lives were lost in deadly protest there as the U.S. recognizes the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s rightful interim president.
My next guest argues the socialist Nicolas Maduro's regime is guilty of crimes against humanity.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joins me now.
First of all, the threats coming from Russia and also China are not happy that we have, quote, intervened. What do you say to that?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Well, Venezuela owes China a bunch of money. They just want to get paid.
Russia is different. Obviously, they want to have control over the oil fields. They want to own them and they want to have a base of operation to threaten America and leverage us in the Western Hemisphere. But I think it’s funny that Vladimir Putin lectures anyone about not interfering. This is a guy who messed with our elections, who invaded Ukraine, who took Crime, who is up to his neck in Syria. So, it’s a joke.
Now, that said, we’re not interfering. Here’s what’s important and it’s being missed. And I hope more people are reporting it this way. This is not a unilateral U.S. action. This number one is a constitutional action by the people of Venezuela, under their constitution. The constitution put in place under Hugo Chavez. The election that happened in May is -- it will be the equivalent of President Trump ordering an election next month and getting a four-year term out of it.
The elections are every four years. And likewise, so it wasn't a constitutional election, that means there’s a vacancy. Under their constitution, when there is a vacancy in the presidency, the speaker of the national assembly becomes the interim president and has 45 days to call for a new election, new democratic election. That is what has happened here.
Not only has the U.S. recognized that, but 16 other countries in the Western Hemisphere have recognized that. And I mean, virtually everyone from Chile, to Peru, to -- I mean, everyone. On top of that, European countries have jumped on board. The OAS has done so.
This is not some unilateral U.S. activity. This is a broad coalition.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. I mean, there is no doubt that there is a tremendous amount of support for this new interim president, but the big question is whether or not Nicolas Maduro and his henchmen or his top brass in the military will accept this.
And here’s what Secretary Pompeo speaking about the danger that exists here moments ago. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We call on Venezuelan security forces to ensure the protection of interim President Guaido’s physical integrity and his safety. We have seen reports that a number of protesters were killed yesterday and that more than hundred were arrested. So, I reiterate our warning about any decision of remnant elements of the Maduro regime to use violence to repress the peaceful, democratic transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Very strong words there from Secretary Pompeo about ensuring the safety of this interim president. But will that happen?
RUBIO: Well, let me tell you something, the administration has been pretty clear about this. If something were to happen to him or, God forbid, to our diplomats or members of the national assembly, or the general public who’s peacefully protesting, there is going to be swift and immediate and significant consequences. And I can tell you that it’s not for me to decide what they are, or to announce them.
I’m just telling everyone. Believe me when I tell you that there will be significant consequences for Maduro, there’ll be no future for him. And some people don’t like the president, some people love the president, I work very well with the president, especially on this issue.
The one thing I can tell you about the president of the United States, Donald Trump, he doesn't usually bluff or play games. If he says he’s going to do something, he will do it. He said he would end the Iran deal, he did. He said he’d move the embassy to Jerusalem, he did.
He does these things. He is very serious about it and he’ll do it. And so, I just think they need to pay attention to that and be very, very careful about what they do.
As far as moving forward, I think our focus is, first and foremost, about providing humanitarian assistance. People in Venezuela are starving, they’re dying of preventable diseases.