BEDMINSTER, United States -- US President Donald Trump said Friday he was considering military options as a response to the escalating crisis in Venezuela, a move the South American country quickly shot down as “craziness.”
Washington has slapped sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and some of his allies, and branded him a “dictator” over his attempts to crush his country’s opposition. Venezuela has in turn accused America of “imperialist aggression.”
But Trump’s latest comments were the first sign that he is mulling military intervention.
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump told reporters.
“We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they’re dying.”
Trump said Venezuela’s political crisis was among the topics discussed at the talks he hosted at his golf club in New Jersey with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“Venezuela is a mess. It is very dangerous mess and a very sad situation,” Trump said.
But if any US military contingency planning is under way, it must be in its early stages. A Pentagon spokesman, Eric Pahon, refused to elaborate on Trump’s comments, adding: “As of right now, the Pentagon has received no orders.”