WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump met a pair of former Colombian presidents at his Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend – and it was all done quietly.
According to our news partners at the Miami Herald, the move may have thrust the administration into a power struggle in Latin America that could undermine Colombia’s peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – a controversial agreement.
The meeting with former presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana was likely arranged by a critic of the plan, Senator Marco Rubio, Colombia’s news media reported.
The meeting was not listed on the president’s schedule and was not disclosed to reporters who had traveled with him to Palm Beach.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at first declined to answer questions about the meeting.
“I don’t have anything for you at this time,” said Spicer on Wednesday.
The White House later confirmed the meeting to McClatchy but reportedly downplayed it saying it was a coincidence that both former leaders were at the club.
“They were there with a member from the club and briefly said hello when the president walked past them,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the herald. “There wasn’t anything beyond a quick hello.”
The former Colombian leader’s comments contradict that characterization.
Pastrana tweeted a message over the weekend thanking President Trump for the “cordial and very frank conversation” on problems in Colombia and the region as a whole.
Aides to Rubio have declined to comment on the matter.
The meeting comes ahead of President Trump’s first meeting with current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos next month.
Santos is expected to ask Trump to support the peace accord and for Congress to uphold its $450 million in foreign aid promised by former president Barack Obama in order to put in place a plan to end the region’s longest armed conflict.
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