Donald Trump denounces ‘turmoil’ in Venezuela, declines to talk about using U.S. troops
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would discuss the “turmoil” in Venezuela with Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque, but he would not talk publicly about the prospect of sending U.S. troops to the region.
“We look at all options,” Trump told reporters when asked about troops, but “I never talk about that.”
Before his Oval Office meeting with the Colombian president, Trump also said “people are being treated very badly” in Venezuela. “I don’t like seeing it. I’m not happy about it,” the president said.
The U.S. has recognized Juan Guaido, an opposition leader, as Venezuela’s interim president and demanded that President Nicolas Maduro stand down. In praising Guaido during Wednesday’s meeting,
Trump told reporters he had “great respect for the man that most people, many people, think is the real president.”
Trump has previously said “all options” are on the table in trying to oust Maduro from power, including a plan to deploy a limited number of U.S. troops to Colombia’s border with Venezuela.
National security adviser John Bolton caused a stir recently when he appeared in the White House briefing room clutching a notepad that had “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.
The White House did not quash questions at the time about whether that meant the administration was preparing to dispatch U.S. troops to Colombia. A White House spokesman simply reiterated Trump’s “all options are on the table” declaration.
For his part, Duque said of Maduro: “I think the days for this dictatorship are about to end.”
Since declaring Marudo’s rule illegitimate last month, the United States and a raft of other countries have tried to bolster Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the new leader.