Donald Trump showed up at the U.N. on Tuesday to address a range of topics, but when he turned to attack Venezuela, the country's delegate appeared to be tuning the American president out. According to Newsweek, as Trump railed about the country, with which the U.S. has cut ties, the diplomat from Venezuela sat calmly reading a book rather than listening to his speech.
The U.S. and Venezuela have had strained relations since the countries cut ties. The U.S. has put its support behind National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó and has dropped sponsorship for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. As part of that campaign, Washington has worked to oust the current government using economic and political pressure. During his speech on Tuesday, Trump pledged to continue that strategy.
"The dictator Maduro is a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people while Cuba plunders Venezuela's oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt, communist rule," Trump said. "Since I last spoke at this hall, the United States and its partners have built a historic coalition of 55 countries that recognize the legitimate government of Venezuela."
While Trump continued his railing against Maduro, the left-leaning Venezuelan diplomat sat calmly reading a book about Venezuelan revolutionary Simón Bolívar. The choice of reading material is likely a signal to Trump and the U.S., as Bolívar is considered the father of the United Socialist Party, which leads the country today.Trump continued, addressing the people of the Latin American country saying, "to the Venezuelans trapped in this nightmare, please know that all of America is united behind you."
The U.S.'s support of Maduro's opponent is aligned with much of Latin America and Europe, where most people side with Guaidó. Maduro does have the support of nearby countries and nations abroad with similar political leanings, like Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, China, South Africa, China, Iran, and Bolivia.
Officially, the U.N. recognizes Maduro as the leader of Venezuela.
Trump is being watched closely as he speaks at the U.N., and as The Inquisitr reported today, his unusually subdued tone has caused speculation among people on social media. The president abandoned his normally fiery tone and over-the-top gesticulation that he employs when speaking at rallies in favor of a calmer, quieter mode of speaking.
"Is he drugged??? OR… is that what happens when he has to read?" Ted Rubin said of the president's mannerisms.
Other critics wondered if he was ill or exhausted.