Within hours during a government meeting President Nicolas Maduro declared El Aissami had his full support.
In a statement Maduro revealed he had summoned the top US diplomat in Venezuela, to explain the illegal decision to sanction his vice president and to demand an apology and a retraction of the accusations.
The Trump administration named Venezuela’s vice-president an international drug trafficker on Monday https://t.co/1kPCkzGlrI— New York Magazine (@NYMag) 14 febbraio 2017
In the past Maduro has accused the US of attempting to undermine his administration and topple him from power.
El Aissami was appointed last month as Maduro’s right hand man and was entrusted with key powers normally held by the president such as determining ministerial budgets.
But now he has been added to an expanding US sanctions list for allegedly facilitating narcotic shipments to Mexico and Colombia.