President Donald Trump said that the use of US military force in Venezuela is still on the table. This is in the wake of its ongoing political crisis. Trump also said that he turned down a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro several months ago.
Trumps comments came in an interview taped Friday with CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.” In the interview he also declined to say what would cause him to use the military in Venezuela, noting only that “it’s an option” for his administration.
When Brennan asked the president what would make him use military force in the country and what the national security interest for such action would be, he said, “Well, I don’t want to say that, but certainly it’s something that on the — it’s an option,” according to the transcript of the interview.
The self-declared interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, refused to rule out accepting US military support last month. He said that the Venezuelan people want to end Maduro’s dictatorship with “whatever pressure is necessary,” but cautioned that he hopes it doesn’t come to that.
Trump also told Brennan that Maduro asked to meet “a number of months ago,” a request he said he denied.
“I’ve turned it down because we’re very far along in the process,” Trump said. “You have a young and energetic gentleman, but you have other people within that same group that have been very, very — if you talk about democracy — it’s really democracy in action.”
In his interview with Brennan, Trump said he turned down the meeting with Maduro because of the “really horrible things” that had been happening in the country.
“I decided at the time, ‘no’ because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela when you look at that country. That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world which is a very important part of the world,” Trump said. “And now you look at the poverty and you look at the anguish and you look at the crime and you look at all of the things happening. So, I think the process is playing out — very, very big tremendous protests.”