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 meeting occurred last August, and Trump’s question “stunned” those present — which included then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster — according to the official.
In an exchange that lasted around five minutes, McMaster and others took turns explaining to Trump how military action could backfire and risk losing hard-won support among Latin American governments to punish President Nicolas Maduro for taking Venezuela down the path of dictatorship, according to the official.
Trump reportedly “pushed back,” citing other invasions that worked out. The next day, he “alarmed friends and foes alike with talk of a ‘military option’ to remove Maduro from power,” and even broached the prospect with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
He again discussed the idea during the U.N. General Assembly in September with leaders from other Latin American countries, before McMaster reminded him of the dangers of invading another country.
Read the full AP report here.
[image via screengrab]
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