The White House said Monday that "all options" remain on the table when it comes to Venezuela, after national security adviser John Bolton was spotted holding a notepad that included details about troops being transferred to Colombia.
“As the President has said, all options are on the table," the White House said in a statement to The Associated Press. The administration did not elaborate further.
Bolton on Monday was seen holding a yellow notepad in the White House briefing room as the administration announced incoming sanctions against the Venezuela's state oil company PdVSA.
Many Twitter users noted that Bolton's notes appeared to included the phrase, “5,000 troops to Colombia." The picture quickly went viral on social media, with many raising questions about the administration's approach to handling the escalating political crisis in the country.
White House spokesman's explanation for Bolton's "5,000 troops to Colombia" memo on his legal pad: "As the President has said, all options are on the table." pic.twitter.com/3ZOtMGwjxB— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) January 28, 2019
“5,000 troops to Colombia” -Bolton’s yellow pad pic.twitter.com/pvxJUayvlD— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 28, 2019
Three unnamed defense officials told NBC News that no troops or assets were being sent to Venezuela or Colombia despite the statement on Bolton's legal pad.
No US troops or assets are heading to Colombia or Venezuela, three Defense officials tell @NBCNews, despite the notes seen on NSA Bolton's notepad today - @ckubeNBC https://t.co/t7KdZOdj8k pic.twitter.com/zU3NfxP4G2— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 28, 2019
The Trump administration last week recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela's National Assembly, as Venezuela’s interim president. Several other nations, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have also endorsed Guaidó.
Election officials said Nicolás Maduro won the most recent election, but many organizations as well as the U.S. consider the results illegitimate. Maduro has meanwhile vowed to hold onto power. Last Wednesday he gave all U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, but backed down on that threat according to the AP.
— Updated 10:45 p.m.