2nd-highest ranking US military officer reportedly slammed his hands on table after growing tired of John Bolton's aides at fiery meeting

  • Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the US’s second-highest-ranking military officer, reportedly grew upset at interruptions by national security adviser John Bolton’s aides during a meeting.
  • The aides queried Selva on exercising military options in response to the crisis in Venezuela, according to The Washington Post. Selva reportedly cautioned against escalating the conflict.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US’s second-highest-ranking military officer grew upset at being interrupted by national security adviser John Bolton’s aides during a meeting and slammed his hands on a table, according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.

US Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was updating Bolton’s aides on the Defence Department’s view of the crisis in Venezuela last week, several officials told The Post.

Read more: ‘Embarrassing’ and ‘entirely inappropriate’: One of the most highly decorated former US Army generals blasts Trump’s visit with US troops in Iraq

Selva – described as “soft-spoken” by The Post – was said to have cautioned against escalating the conflict when he was interrupted several times by the aides, some of whom asked about a more aggressive posture. The aides mirrored Bolton’s view and queried Selva on military options, according to The Post.

The continued interruptions irritated Selva, who reportedly slammed his hands on a wooden table, with a ring on his finger making a sound as it hit. The meeting reportedly ended earlier than expected.

One senior official said Selva had not given Bolton’s team enough military options.

The turmoil in Venezuela escalated this week after opposition leader Juan Guaidó launched an attempt to oust embattled President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes between the leaders’ supporters.

Read more: The US military is on ‘the balls of its feet’ about Venezuela’s crisis – here’s what that means, according to a former NATO commander

Maduro’s second term as president, which began in January, is widely viewed as illegitimate due to allegations of election fraud. Maduro has also been condemned for his handling of Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis. The US and some 50 other countries have recognised Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.

Bolton, a foreign-policy hawk, and other members of the Trump administration have stressed that “all options were on the table” when it came to dealing with Maduro.

“We’re doing a lot of other things, some of which I’m not going to talk about,” Bolton told reporters Wednesday.

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