The crisis in Venezuela could prompt a US military response, President Donald Trump has told reporters. The Pentagon, however, has reportedly not been directed on any such plans.
On Friday, Trump appeared outside his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, where he told reporters that he had “many options” for responding to the Venezuelan crisis.
“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump said, according to Reuters.
Trump did not elaborate as to whether American troops would be leading the military option.
“We don’t talk about it,” he said. “But a military operation, a military option, is certainly something we could pursue.”
Trump called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and blamed him for the humanitarian situation in the country.
“The Pentagon has received no orders,” Department of Defense spokesperson Eric Pahon told Reuters.
On August 9, the US imposed sanctions on eight Venezuelan officials, including President Nicolas Maduro and the brother of former President Hugo Chavez. The sanctions were imposed due to last month’s Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela, which the US called “illegitimate.” Approximately 8 million people voted for 545 candidates who will look to draft a new constitution for the country.
“I am proud of the alleged sanctions… because I do not wag my tail like a lying dog,” Maduro said. The sanctions state that the US will conduct no business with those individuals.