Donald Trump threatens Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro with military action

Donald Trump said last night he was considering possible military action against Venezuela in response to Nicolas Maduro’s power grab.

Mr Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf course that he was “not going to rule out” a military option”.

“Venezuela is a mess. It is very dangerous mess and a very sad situation,” Mr Trump said.

President Trump: “I’m not going to rule out a military option” in Venezuela https://t.co/UYpqI3esEbhttps://t.co/hlWo70okBS

— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2017

“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” the US president said.

He added that it was “certainly something that we could pursue”.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) celebrates election results after a national vote on his proposed Constituent Assembly at Plaza Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, 31 July 2017 Credit: EPA

The Pentagon immediately responded, stating  it had not received any orders on Venezuela.

A spokesman referred questions to the White House.

In a statement later, the White House said Mr Trump was ready to speak to Mr Maduro, but only when democracy had been restored.

“Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people,” the White House said.

“The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship.  

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”

Leon Panetta, the former US defence secretary, told CNN: “This is a president that comes out of the development industry in New York City, comes out of reality TV. I think he prides himself that talking is kind of his business…. 

“But when you’re president of the United States, when you’re commander-in-chief, this is not reality TV. This is a situation where he can’t just talk down to everyone in the world and expect that somehow you can bully them to do what you think is right.”

Leon Panetta on President Trump’s Venezuela comments: “This is not reality TV” https://t.co/TXWnMBy88Bhttps://t.co/eN706GT4sE

— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2017

He added…

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