Mass street protests have taken place against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro amid questions surrounding the legitimacy of an election to establish an all-powerful Constituent Assembly.
US officials and Venezuelan opposition figures fear the assembly could grant president Maduro a dictatorship as his ruling socialist party will virtually unlimited powers to change the nation’s constitution.
Venezuelan opposition leaders have been jailed as the government cracks down on dissident voices in newspapers and television stations.
Talking to reporters at his New Jersey golf club, Trump said: “Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and they’re dying.
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”
Venezuela also suffers from food and medicine shortages, which have heightened the unrest.
The Trump administration already imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela in July.
Ahead of the referendum last month, the US State Department ordered families of US diplomats to leave Venezuela’s capital Caracas amid concerns about “social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages”.
Donald Trump’s administration last week called for a peaceful solution to anti-government protests in Venezuela.
The White House also last week confirmed that H.R. McMaster, the US national security adviser, had met with Julio Borges, the president of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, for talks on how to resolve the issue.
They discussed “the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections”, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: “We are deeply concerned about the Maduro government’s violent crackdown on protestors in Venezuela.
“President Maduro’s disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people has heightened the political and economic crisis in the country.
“The Maduro regime must respect Venezuela’s constitution and the voice of its people. We are particularly concerned that the government is failing to provide basic food and medical needs to the Venezuelan people.”