President Trump will not speak with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro until "democracy is restored" in that country, the White House said in a statement Friday night hours after Trump floated the idea of "military option" against the Maduro regime.
"Since the start of this administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela's constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela's great people," the White House statement said. "The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead, Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship. The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country."
Maduro had requested to talk on the phone with Trump.
Hours earlier, Trump said he is not ruling out military action against the government in Venezuela for its recent moves to weaken the country's democratic institutions.
The Pentagon says it hasn't received any instructions on the matter.
This week, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on eight of Maduro's allies, accusing them of violating human rights and democratic norms.
The Trump administration had previously imposed sanctions on Maduro himself, condemning the socialist leader as a "dictator."
The actions against Venezuela come after Maduro created a political body called a constituent assembly to consolidate power. The assembly contains only Maduro supporters and has the power to rewrite the constitution to grant total authority to the country's leftists.
Venezuela has been wracked with hunger and poverty, which has sparked protests against the government.