On Friday, President Donald Trump told reporters he “isn’t ruling out a military option” in Venezuela.
According to CNBC, Trump told reporters assembled at his New Jersey golf club that “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”
“We don’t talk about it,” Trump said when asked if the U.S. would be the first to respond with force. “But a military operation, a military option, is certainly something we could pursue.”
Trump’s comments came roughly the same time as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who the Trump admin considers a “dictator,” said he is open to talks with the U.S. during his visit to the United Nations in New York in a few weeks.
For weeks, Venezuela has been the site of crisis as anti-Maduro protests erupted in the streets throughout the summer. Much of the turmoil stems from deaths at protests and widespread food shortages and poverty. Maduro and Trump clashed earlier in the summer after he moved forward with a plan to re-write the country’s constitution against Trump’s wishes.
— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2017