Trump reportedly floated ‘using military force’ in Venezuela

A policeman seen trying to maintain order during the protest in Venezuela. Roman Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump reportedly floated using “military force” in Venezuela to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in recent weeks.
  • Graham told Axios he cautioned Trump the move could be “problematic.”
  • The US and several other countries recently recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president over Nicolas Maduro.
  • Speculation has been mounting ever since over the Trump administration’s next moves in Venezuela.

President Donald Trump reportedly weighed using the “military option” in Venezuela in recent weeks, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Axios on Sunday.

“He said, ‘What do you think about using military force?'” Graham said. “And I said, ‘Well, you need to go slow on that, that could be problematic.'”

Speculation has been mounting over the Trump administration’s next moves in Venezuela, where the US and several other foreign countries have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president over Nicolas Maduro.

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney ,also hinted at the military option on Sunday, telling “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “is looking at this extraordinarily closely.”

“I don’t think any president of any party who is doing his or her job would be doing the job properly if they took anything off the table,” Mulvaney said.

Trump has previously floated the option in public, saying in August 2017 that the US had “many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option.”

Read more: Almost every country in Latin America sided with Trump against Venezuela’s embattled President Maduro

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also pushed the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to “pick a side” on Venezuela and support Guaidó’s transition until fair elections could be held.

“Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side,” Pompeo said. “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

Maduro’s tenure as president has seen crisis after crisis play out under his leadership, with food shortages and economic turmoil sparking hyperinflation and starvation, and prompting millions to flee the country.

Maduro was re-elected in May 2018, but critics have accused Venezuela of holding a fraudulent election. Guaidó then declared himself interim president on January 5, with the support of the country’s National Assembly.