Friday, 14 December, 2018

Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says

Trump 'pressed aides about Venezuela invasion' - ITV News Trump asked aides if he could invade Venezuela last year: report
Ellis Copeland | 06 July, 2018, 20:46

President Donald Trump asked top aides during an Oval Office meeting if the United States could invade Venezuela - a country in the midst of a political and economic crisis - a senior administration official told the Associated Press.

The AP is reporting on a previously undisclosed conversation between the president and some of his aides on August 10.

He alluded to reports in the United States press which said that last August, Trump asked foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela, which the Trump administration has derided as a corrupt, left-wing dictatorship.

The US official said Mr Trump was specifically briefed not to raise the issue and told it would not play well, but the first thing the president said at the dinner was: "My staff told me not to say this".

His national security chief, HR McMaster, and secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, are said to have been shocked by his suggestion, according to reports.

"We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbour", Trump said.

But shortly afterward, he raised the issue with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, according to the USA official.

A month later, Trump proceeded to ask the leaders of four Latin American countries, at a private dinner held at a UN General Assembly in NY, whether they would accept military action.

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While some of those around him continued attempts to ignore or dissuade the president, reportedly Trump could not let the idea go and AP cites "two high-ranking Colombian officials" who confirmed that he brought the idea of a military overthrow up with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a closed-door meeting in August of 2017.

They said they were sure, and McMaster eventually managed to persuade Trump of the dangers of an invasion, the AP report says. The US leader even repeatedly raised this issue with his top aides and Latin American leaders.

Maduro said Trump's question to his advisers came after Venezuelan opposition figures visited the White House. But critics say it also underscores how his "America First" foreign policy at times can seem outright reckless, providing ammunition to America's adversaries.

Venezuelans have also been fleeing to countries including Brazil, Colombia, Chile, the U.S., and Spain.

"Mind your own business and solve your own problems, Mr. Trump!" roared Nicolas Maduro Guerra, who is the son of the Venezuelan leader, speaking before the handpicked constituent assembly.

Both have since left the White House. Santos, a big backer of US attempts to isolate Maduro, said an invasion would have zero support in the region.

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

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