In Secret Recording, Pompeo Laments Unity Against Maduro Is ‘Devilishly Difficult’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a joint press conference in front of Villa Borsig, the guest house of the German Foreign Ministry, after a joint discussion with Germany’s Secretary of State, Heiko Maas. (Photo... Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a joint press conference in front of Villa Borsig, the guest house of the German Foreign Ministry, after a joint discussion with Germany’s Secretary of State, Heiko Maas. (Photo by Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images) MORE LESS

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted in private that keeping up opposition efforts against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been “devilishly difficult” — a far cry from the administration’s public position on the strength of the effort to oust Maduro, The Washington Post reported.

Pompeo made the admission in an audio recording of a private meeting, which was obtained by the Post.

“Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult,” Pompeo reportedly said. “The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be 40-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro.”

Pompeo added that he knew Maduro would eventually be forced out of power, but “I couldn’t tell you the timing.”

Pompeo’s remarks differ from official statements delivered by the Trump administration about the cohesive support behind Maduro’s opposition, led by Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly leader who more than 60 countries support as the true leader of Venezuela.

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