It was a well-oiled diplomatic campaign, closely coordinated with allies and rigorously on message. It was, in a word, un-Trumpian.
The dissonance didn’t end with the orderly process. Here was a president who preaches America First, who rarely invokes democracy and human rights in his unscripted remarks, who has voiced admiration for dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, sticking his neck out to restore democracy in a country that doesn’t usually figure among the top challenges to U.S. interests.
Asked to explain the president’s anomalous stance on Maduro during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that both Venezuela and the United States are bound to a multinational charter they adopted in 2001 that enshrines representative democracy as the prevailing political system in the Western hemisphere. But the rationale rang hollow. If we’ve learned one thing from Trump’s presidency, it’s that he doesn’t feel the least bit tethered to international agreements when he believes they aren’t in the national interest.