Trump asked advisers about invading Venezuela

Last August, President Donald Trump asked several top foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the US was enacting on the autocratic government, a senior administration official familiar with the comments said.

Posted: Jul 6, 2018 5:38 AM
Updated: Jul 6, 2018 5:54 AM

President Donald Trump last August asked several top foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the US was enacting on the autocratic government, a senior administration official familiar with the comments said.

Trump's aides, including then-national security adviser HR McMaster, vigorously urged him against the notion of a military invasion of Venezuela, warning him it could backfire and explaining that US allies in the region were firmly opposed to such drastic action. Taking military action against Venezuela would be a dramatic escalation of the US's so-far solely diplomatic and sanctions-focused response to the political and economic crisis roiling the South American country.

Still, the official with knowledge of Trump's private comments noted there was "no imminent plan for a military strike" and chalked the comments up to Trump thinking "out loud."

"The President says and thinks a lot of different things," the official said. "He just thinks out loud."

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro reacted to Trump's comments on Wednesday, urging the country's armed forces not to "lower their guard."

"We need to defend our right for peace, dignity and for the right to chose our own destiny," Maduro said during a military ceremony in Caracas. "No empire is going to choose for us!"

"A military invasion from the US empire will never be a solution for Venezuela's problems, never," he added. "The greatest right our people have is the right to live in peace."

Trump's private comments to his advisers were first reported by the Associated Press. They came a day before he said publicly -- standing alongside then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley -- that he was not taking "a military option" against Venezuela off the table.

Trump in the following month continued to press Latin American leaders about the possibility, including on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly when he dined with many of those leaders -- all of whom said they did not want a US invasion of Venezuela.

Venezuela has been a key focus of the Trump administration's policy toward Latin America, with Trump taking numerous steps to ratchet up pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The administration has enacted numerous sanctions and issued strongly worded statements urging the Venezuelan government to allow free and fair elections to take place.

Vice President Mike Pence has also met numerous times with Venezuelan opposition leaders and has issued stinging criticisms of the Venezuelan government during his recent trips to Latin America.

Trump's comments were not the first time he has raised the possibility of military action against another country. Before the cooling of tensions with North Korea in recent months, Trump deliberated with aides about the possibility of preventive strikes against the Pyongyang regime and in January sought to order the evacuation of US military dependents in South Korea -- sounding alarms among the President's top national security aides who worried North Korea might interpret the move as wartime preparations.

Just as with his discussions of military action in Venezuela, Trump's aides dissuaded him from taking such brash action.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112626

Reported Deaths: 3520
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20832759
Lake10292318
Elkhart6415109
St. Joseph6156102
Allen6029200
Hamilton4724109
Vanderburgh344530
Hendricks2673122
Monroe247436
Tippecanoe226913
Johnson2268123
Clark215056
Porter207845
Cass19329
Delaware188261
Vigo178123
Madison159575
LaPorte137739
Floyd131461
Howard128563
Kosciusko120217
Warrick119936
Bartholomew115357
Marshall98924
Dubois95418
Boone95146
Hancock91143
Grant89133
Noble89132
Henry77024
Wayne74414
Jackson7409
Morgan70038
Shelby66529
Daviess64427
Dearborn63228
LaGrange63111
Clinton59212
Harrison56024
Putnam53710
Lawrence50528
Montgomery50521
Knox5019
Gibson4854
White48114
DeKalb45611
Decatur45439
Miami4263
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3862
Steuben3707
Scott35610
Sullivan33012
Jennings31212
Posey3060
Franklin29925
Clay2935
Orange28524
Ripley2838
Carroll27013
Wabash2618
Washington2611
Starke2537
Whitley2526
Wells2482
Adams2453
Jefferson2443
Fulton2342
Huntington2223
Tipton21722
Spencer2153
Perry21413
Randolph2087
Jay1730
Newton17111
Owen1651
Martin1640
Rush1524
Pike1401
Vermillion1260
Fountain1182
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Crawford1030
Brown1023
Parke941
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland700
Warren391
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 145850

Reported Deaths: 4635
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26242603
Cuyahoga17196644
Hamilton12850309
Montgomery7583152
Lucas7187358
Butler5727102
Summit5172249
Marion307247
Mahoning3002279
Warren294748
Stark2771168
Pickaway263444
Lorain227786
Delaware216620
Fairfield203850
Columbiana192180
Licking187562
Trumbull1852131
Clark175938
Wood173772
Clermont165520
Lake158649
Medina143939
Allen138869
Miami138049
Greene137632
Portage109466
Mercer107717
Tuscarawas91620
Erie91244
Wayne90866
Ross86123
Richland80819
Madison78712
Darke76839
Belmont71227
Geauga70547
Hancock67410
Ashtabula65148
Athens6292
Lawrence61618
Shelby5909
Auglaize5709
Putnam55823
Sandusky55520
Huron5337
Union5002
Scioto4746
Ottawa46630
Seneca45314
Preble42213
Muskingum3802
Holmes3777
Jefferson3284
Logan3013
Henry30012
Champaign2943
Perry2889
Defiance28710
Clinton28213
Brown2812
Knox28015
Morrow2522
Washington25123
Hardin25013
Fulton2371
Jackson2344
Coshocton23111
Crawford2276
Fayette2266
Ashland2244
Highland2203
Wyandot20212
Williams2013
Gallia18612
Meigs17210
Pike1670
Hocking1619
Guernsey1578
Carroll1517
Adams1234
Van Wert1143
Monroe10918
Paulding1050
Harrison622
Morgan470
Vinton453
Noble270
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 62°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Mostly Sunny Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events