Trump Asked Aides About Invading Venezuela Last Year

06 July, 2018, 20:44 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Trump mulled invading Venezuela to stabilize the South American country racked by economic and social turmoil

At the end of the talks, Trump shocked aides and senior administration officials by bluntly asking why can't the US just invade the country.

Surrounded by his top military aides in a White House meeting less than a year ago, the Associated Press on Wednesday reports that President Donald Trump wanted to know why the United States military couldn't "just simply invade" the country of Venezuela.

The first one to report this news was Associated Press, and Trump even said it publicly that he is keeping a military option against Venezuela on the table, as he was standing next to the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

Mr Trump raised the idea in August 2017 during a meeting about sanctions the United States has imposed on oil rich Venezuela, reports quoting a senior administration official said.

Tillerson and McMaster vehemently opposed the notion, advising the president that the mere suggestion of force would risk losing hard-won support and political capital amongst Latin American governments now riding a natural crest of opposition to Nicolas Maduro's already embattled regime as Venezuela's situation worsens.

However, Trump still did not dismiss the idea, referring to the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s as examples of previous USA interventions.

Aides say that since August President Trump has repeatedly pushed aides on the matter, and that a number of different cabinet members have had to take turns trying to talk Trump out of the idea.

Trump didn't let up and he spoke about military options to remove Maduro the next day then followed it up by raising the issue with Colombia's President.

The public remarks were initially dismissed in U.S. policy circles as the sort of martial bluster people have come to expect from the reality TV star turned commander in chief. However, such widespread resistance to his plans allegedly did not stop Trump as less than a week later he raised the issue once again - this time with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

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Trump reportedly prefaced the conversation with the leaders with the phrase: "My staff told me not to say this".

Eventually, Mr McMaster pulled the president aside and walked him through the dangers of an invasion, the official said.

The White House declined to comment on these reports.

He is reported to have then raised the idea with several Latin American leaders following the meeting. But a National Security Council spokesman told the news agency that "all options" remain open to "help restore Venezuela's democracy and bring stability". "We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary".

His administration also levied new sanctions on dozens of Venezuelan officials, including Maduro, in May.

Trump, who called the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a "dictator" and blamed him for the humanitarian problems in the country, was apparently not going to back down.

Both have since left the White House.

Even some of the staunchest U.S. allies were begrudgingly forced to side with Maduro in condemning Trump's saber rattling.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is speaking out, following an earlier report from the Associated Press about a potential US invasion into the country.


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