President Donald Trump last year repeatedly discussed the possibility of an invasion of Venezuela, an anonymous and likely non-existent US official says.
According to the Associated Press sources, Trump voiced this proposal last August during an Oval Office discussion of sanctions against Venezuela because of the approval of the decree by the Constituent Assembly that actually dissolved the country’s parliament.
The words of the US leader shocked Rex Tillerson and Herbert McMaster, the then secretary of state and national security advisor, respectively. Top aides explained to Trump that military action could lead to the loss of the hard-won confidence of the governments of other Latin American countries, which was critical to influence the Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
A White House official told the AP on conditions of anonymity that later in August Trump raised this issue at a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Despite that administration officials urged the president not to talk about it, Trump again raised the issue during a private dinner with the leaders of Latin American countries on the sidelines the UN General Assembly in September 2017.
A National Security Council spokesman reiterated that the U.S. will consider all options at its disposal to help restore Venezuela’s democracy and bring stability.
The White House declined to comment on the private conversations.