Trump stepped up his rhetoric on Friday against Venezuela—a country has already accused of being led by a “dictator”—with threats of a military intervention:
We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option. We have many options for Venezuela.
This is our neighbor. You know, we are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.
A vote on July 30 allowed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to replace the opposition-held National Assembly with a new 545-member Constituent Assembly—one filled with his supporters. In response to the move, protests have rocked the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities, and Venezuelan security forces have used excessive force and arbitrarily detained thousands of people, according to CNN.
Trump’s top national security aides, on the other hand, have downplayed that possibility of military action. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Advisor, said that military intervention from any outside source was not a possibility, and the Defense Department has not been ordered to make any military movements related to Venezuela.
Trump made his comments at his New Jersey golf club after a meeting there with UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“Lots of good things could happen and we also could have a bad solution,” he said. When asked if that “bad solution” meant war, Trump declined to say. “I think you know that answer to that,” he said.
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