Rachel Maddow Show Blames Venezuela Unrest on 'Trump Donations'

April 21, 2017

MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Thursday night played images of rioting and protests in Venezuela with the chyron "Unrest in Venezuela Over Trump Donations," while Maddow claimed Venezuelans were "enraged anew" over a Trump Inaugural Committee FEC filing showing a major donation from Citgo Petroleum, an American subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela.

While Maddow did discuss the violence and economic unrest gripping the country, her show continued to air video of protests while she talked about Citgo donating $500,000 to President Trump's inauguration.

The images were of massive protests against the country's socialist government bringing about a collapsing economy and starvation, not donations to the Trump inauguration. Maddow herself did not expressly make that claim, but the show's use of the chyron suggested the connection.

The New York Times on Wednesday called Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro's government "increasingly autocratic." Maduro has defied international calls to not crack down on protesters, and he has begun arming supporters after confiscating civilian guns.

During one of the liberal host's patented deep dives to begin her show on Thursday, Maddow discussed a Mic report on businessmen with ties to President Trump's family getting a meeting with Steve Bannon and National Security Council officials. Their goal, Mic reported, was to get the U.S. to lift sanctions against Venezuela that were enacted after the left-wing government's deadly crackdown on protesters in 2014.

That led Maddow to comment on the current problems plaguing Venezuela. As she put it, the country is "in intense turmoil right now," noting three people were killed this week during anti-government protests.

Maddow's show effectively drew connections between Citgo's $500,000 donation to President Trump's inauguration and the anger gripping the country.

"There have been weeks and weeks and weeks of rioting and violent protests," she said. "And now today, Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from the White House, which shows ... while Venezuelans have been rioting in the streets, while there have been acute food shortages and medicine shortages in Venezuela."

All the while, the show played images of the massive street demonstrations against Maduro.

"This is a country that should be a rich country, but people have literally been starving in Venezuela," she said. "Somehow in the midst of this incredible economic and political crisis in Venezuela, Venezuela's state-run oil company somewhere found a half-million dollars to donate to the very, very, very inexplicably overfunded Trump inauguration."

Maddow made no mention of socialism or leftism during this portion of her commentary.