President Trump urged Nicolas Maduro's military regime in Venezuela to allow humanitarian aid into the country and reiterated that all options are on the table in a speech that hit home both his international and domestic agenda.
Mr. Trump, speaking at Florida International University, told Venezuelans that the United States stands with them -- but that those in Maduro's regime who oppose freedom will find no "safe harbor." The address is the president's most dramatic public step yet in opposing Maduro and supporting Juan Guaidó, the speaker of the National Assembly, as Venezuela's interim president.
"We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open," Mr. Trump said to a supportive crowd.
While the president didn't directly mention any progressive Democrats in Congress or running for president in 2020, his emphasis that the U.S. will never be a socialist nation made his domestic part of the speech clear.
Last month, national security adviser John Bolton stood in front of the White House press corps with a legal pad that said "5,000 troops to Colombia," a note the White House declined to clarify beyond the president's remarks that all options are on the table.
The president's speech began at about 4:45 p.m. at Florida International University.
Trump to Maduro regime: "LET YOUR PEOPLE GO"
Mr. Trump, using language that resembled the plea of Moses in the Old Testament of the Bible to Pharaoh, tweeted after his speech to the Maduro regime, "LET YOUR PEOPLE GO."
Mexico staying neutral on Venezuela
As Mr. Trump began to speak in Florida, Mexico's new Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente, who represents Mexico's President Lopez Obredor, told reporters at the United Nations that Mexico remains neutral on the situation in Venezuela.
"Mexico's neutrality on Venezuela does not mean Mexico supports one side," he told CBS News at the United Nations, adding that dialogue is preferred by Mexico.
-- CBS News' Pam Falk
America will never be a socialist country, Trump says
Mr. Trump told his supporters that America will never be a socialist country.
"We were born free, and we will stay free now and forever," he said.
Mr. Trump never directly mentioned any Democrats pushing progressive policies either in Congress or for 2020, but he has blasted and linked socialism and Democrats in recent weeks.
Trump: "We seek a peaceful transition of power but all options are open"
The president didn't directly address the possibility of military intervention in Venezuela, but made it clear, as he has in the past, that all options are on the table.
"We seek a peaceful transition of power but all options are open," the president said.
Trump: Those who support Maduro will find no safe harbor
Mr. Trump made his case to the Maduro regime, urging them not to stop humanitarian aid to Venezuelans.
Those who support Maduro, Mr. Trump said, will find no "safe harbor."
Maduro is a "Cuban puppet," Trump says
The president then blasted Maduro as a "Cuban puppet."
"That's what he is," the president insisted.
Trump: The days of socialism and communism are over
Mr. Trump told the crowd that socialism by definition does not respect its citizens or its neighbors.
But the days of socialism and communism are numbered, Mr. Trump said, not just in Venezuela, but elsewhere.
Trump blasts socialism and communism
The president launched into the terror of socialism and communism, pinning those systems as the cause for Venezuela's situation.
"Socialism has so completely ravaged" the country that not even its vast wealth of oil will save it, the president said.
"This will never happen to us," Mr. Trump added of the U.S., to cheers of "U.S.A."
Melania Trump introduces the president
First Lady Melania Trump introduced President Trump, saying many in the room know what it's like to be blessed with freedom after living under socialism.
The first lady herself was born in communist Slovenia.
Trump arrives for his address
The president's motorcade arrived at the site at 4:12 p.m.
A number of top state officials will join Mr. Trump, including Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Rep. Mario Diaz Balart and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Here are the highlights of Trump's prepared speech
Here are some of the highlights provided by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders ahead of the president's address:
- Strong support for interim President Juan Guaidó;
- The current path toward democracy is irreversible -- Venezuelan military officials have a clear choice - work toward democracy for their future and the future of their families, or they will lose everything they have;
- The United States knows where military officials and their families have money hidden throughout the world. The military and security forces should listen to Guaidó and allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela
- Venezuela should not be a puppet state of Cuba;
- The successful peaceful transition to democracy in Venezuela will help promote democracy in Nicaragua and Cuba.
Trump to call on Maduro to leave power
Mr. Trump's speech will call on Maduro to formally leave power in Venezuela to Guaidó, senior White House officials tell CBS News' Fin Gomez.
The president will also discuss aid efforts in Venezuela, and elaborate how the Maduro regime is hurting the Venezuelan people. Mr. Trump has used Venezuela as an example of what, in the administration's view, happens when a country turns to socialism. The president and his allies have pointed to Venezuela as what could happen if a liberal Democrat wins the White House in 2020.