Trump Says He’s Not Ruling Out Military Option Against Venezuela

President Trump said Friday he is not ruling out military action against the government in Venezuela for its recent moves to weaken the country's democratic institutions.

"We have many options for Venezuela," Trump told reporters in Bedminster, N.J., as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley stood by the president's side.

"And by the way I am not going to rule out a military option," Trump said. "We have many options."

The Pentagon says it hasn't received any instructions on the matter.

"The Pentagon has not received any orders with regards to Venezuela," said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon Friday evening, according to CNN.

President Trump: "I'm not going to rule out a military option" in Venezuela— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2017

This week, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on eight allies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, accusing them of violating human rights and democratic norms.

The Trump administration had previously imposed sanctions on Maduro himself, condemning the socialist leader as a "dictator."

Analysts have speculated the Trump administration could move to ban oil imports from Venezuela, but there has been bipartisan pushback to that idea because of the harm it would inflict on the U.S. economy.

The actions against Venezuela come after Maduro created a political body, called a constituent assembly, to consolidate power. The assembly contains only Maduro supporters and has the power to rewrite the constitution to grant total authority to the country's leftists.

Venezuela is currently in crisis, suffering from shortages of food and medicine and reeling from low oil prices.

Trump's comments about potential military action on Venezuela's government comes on the same week he threatened to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea for its nuclear program.

Maduro said on Thursday that he would like to meet with Trump.

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