Administration

Trump privately floated possibility of imposing naval blockade against Venezuela: report

President Trump privately suggested stationing Navy ships around Venezuela to block goods from entering and exiting the country multiple times, Axios reported Sunday.

Five current and former officials told the outlet they had either directly heard the president discuss the idea or been briefed on it.

Trump has reportedly raised the idea for at least a year and a half, and as recently as several weeks ago.

Earlier this month he answered "Yes, I am" when a reporter asked whether he was mulling a blockade, according to Reuters. However, he did not elaborate on the idea.

"He literally just said we should get the ships out there and do a naval embargo," one source who heard the president's comments in private told Axios. "Prevent anything going in."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A blockade would be a significant escalation of the Trump administration's efforts to force Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro out of office.

The U.S. in January recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president.

Guaidó and his camp allege that Maduro's last election was illegitimate.

The opposition has yet to successfully topple Maduro, despite U.S. backing which has included stringent sanctions on Venezuela.

Trump in February said that military intervention in the country is an "option" and his administration has frequently stressed that all options are "on the table."

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