Ku Klux Klan 'Rules the White House': Venezuela's Maduro Blasts 'Warmongering' Trump Administration as 'Gang of Extremists'

Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro has lashed out at the administration of President Donald Trump, accusing it of "warmongering in order to take over Venezuela."

In an interview with the BBC aired Tuesday, Maduro referred to Trump's government as a "gang of extremists" and blamed the United States for the crisis destabilizing his country.

"I pray that God enlightens you," Maduro told the BBC journalist conducting the interview. "It's a political war of the United States empire, of the interests of the extreme right that today is governing, of the Ku Klux Klan that rules the White House, to take over Venezuela," he argued.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to businessmen during the presentation of Venezuela’s nation-brand in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 11. FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images

"I believe the extremist sector of the white supremacists of the Ku Klux Klan is in charge of the United States," the Venezuelan leader confirmed when questioned by the interviewer. "I believe it's a gang of extremists." When asked whether Trump himself is a white supremacist, Maduro responded, "He is, publicly and openly."

Trump "has encouraged the fascist tendencies, the neo-fascists, the neo-Nazis within the United States, in Europe, in Latin America," Maduro argued.

The Trump administration has formally backed Maduro's political opposition led by Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president last month and called for new democratic elections. Maduro's government has called the move a coup, but Guaidó, who served as the head of Venezuela's National Assembly, has used the constitution to justify his move. Maduro was inaugurated to a second term at the beginning of January after elections last year that were boycotted by many Venezuelans and accused of being rampant with voter fraud by many in the international community.

Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s National Assembly head and self-proclaimed acting president, speaks during a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 29. YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

During his tenure, Maduro has overseen the worst economic crisis in Venezuela's modern history, with soaring inflation surpassing 1 million percent. Millions have fled the country as refugees, largely to nearby Latin American nations such as Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. But Maduro and his supporters argue the economic crisis has been caused by crippling international sanctions. While some analysts agree, many others argued that mismanagement and corruption have played a central role.

Alfred de Zayas, who visited Venezuela as a special rapporteur for the United Nations, has argued in support of Maduro against the U.S. and Guaido.

"The economic war [from the U.S.] is asphyxiating the country, causing much suffering amongst the most vulnerable," de Zayas said in a recent interview with L'Anti Diplomatico. "As I wrote in my report to the Human Rights Council, sanctions kill."

"Humanitarian crisis is a hyperbole," he argued. "Of course there is scarcity but the cause is in the concerted effort by the U.S., Canada, E.U. to cause chaos in Venezuela, expecting that the government will fall."

How "democracies" can endorse a right wing coup is beyond me #HandsOffVenezuela

— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) February 12, 2019

While numerous European and American nations have joined the U.S. in backing Guaidó, Russia, China, Iran and Turkey have supported Maduro. Maduro has previously warned that Trump told "the Colombian mafia" to kill him.

"They have given the order from the White House that Maduro be killed," he alleged.

Trump and his administration have said repeatedly that "all options are on the table" with regard to removing Maduro, suggesting military intervention is possible. But national security adviser John Bolton recently said "a peaceful transfer of power" is the administration's "objective," according to Reuters.

Late last year, Bolton gave a speech on U.S. policy regarding Latin America in which he referred to the leaders of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua as the "three stooges" of socialism. He dubbed the Latin American nations the "Troika of Tyranny," while also hailing the recent electoral victory of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and right-wing Colombian President Iván Duque as a counterweight to their regional influence.

Maduro's criticism of Trump and his administration as emboldening white supremacists aligns with what many critics of the president have said in the U.S. After a white supremacist rally left one anti-racism demonstrator dead in 2017, Trump argued that there were good people on "both sides" of the protests, refusing to condemn the far-right marchers who were made up of former members of the KKK and neo-Nazis.