U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday claimed that Washington is exploring "many options regarding Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary". "And, by the way, I'm not going to rule out a military option", said Trump.
"Venezuela is a mess", said Trump, in an appearance before reporters with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at his New Jersey golf club.
"This is our neighbor", he added.
"Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying", he continued.
The Pentagon hasn't received any orders regarding Venezuela as of this point, a spokesman told McClatchy, referring all further questions to the White House.More news: Kentucky mayor pushes to remove 2 Confederate statues
"The president is obviously growing impatient with a unsafe thug holding 30 million people hostage, with cowardly snipers murdering hungry democracy protesters", Roger Noriega, a former US ambassador to the Organization of American States and assistant secretary of state for Western hemisphere affairs told McClatchy.
"As Minister of Defense and as a citizen I say this is a insane act, an act of supreme extremism", Padrino said via phone on state-owned television network VTV.
Trump made the statement during a press conference on the growing concerns of military action in North Korea, immediately raising the specter of United States intervening in two conflicts simultaneously, including one in our own hemisphere. "If planet Earth will end".
The trip was already sure to be dominated by discussion of Venezuela, with Pence expected to call on the leaders to continue to pressure the Maduro government and encourage others in the region to do the same.
The announcement has not sat well with the South American nation, as Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said that Trump's statement was "crazy".More news: Pittsburgh Pirates use big third to top Toronto Blue Jays
The 545-member assembly, which has the rights to amend the constitution and reorganize the government, "aims to fix the malfunction" plaguing the country's governing system, according to Delcy Rodriguez, the recently elected president of the new legislative body.
The country is deep in a recession compounded by shortages of food and medicine, while anti-government protests have killed more than 130 people since April. "Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand", Maduro said during the three-hour speech, in which he later accused "imperialists" of threatening his regime.
"Latin American states will not want to be seen as endorsing US military intervention".
H.R. McMaster, Trump's National Security Adviser, flatly told MSNBC earlier this month that military intervention from any outside source was not a possibility.
"I think they consider Pence more predictable and measured", she said.More news: 'Three-nil would've been fair' - Pochettino enjoys comfortable Tottenham victory
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