President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE on Tuesday did not rule out military intervention in Venezuela, calling the country "one of the truly bad places in the world today."
“I don’t want to say that," Trump said after being asked about the prospect of sending U.S. troops to Colombia to attempt to "manage the relationship with Venezuela." "I don’t like to talk about military. Why should I talk to you about military? I’m going to tell you like President Obama — he used to say exactly what he was going to do — and then it would be 10 times tougher to do it. I don’t do that.”
Trump, speaking at a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, also issued a stinging rebuke of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s administration, laying blame for the country's deepening economic and humanitarian crisis on Maduro.
“The Maduro regime is obviously not doing the job. First of all, it's brutal, and people are seeing what's happening. It's a horrible, horrible thing to witness. It's one of the truly bad places in the world today, and there are some other pretty bad places. But it's not acceptable to us, and it's not acceptable to many of the surrounding countries. Many of those countries, including Colombia, are taking in refugees who are literally starving. They're literally starving,” he said.
Trump's comments came the same day the Treasury Department implemented sanctions on four members of Maduro’s inner circle, including his wife and vice president. The four officials will be blocked from the U.S. financial system, and any of their assets based in the U.S. will be frozen.
Under the new sanctions, American firms and individuals are barred from doing business with the Maduro aides.
This isn’t the first time Trump has floated sending military forces to Venezuela. “We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” he told reporters last month.
“President Maduro relies on his inner circle to maintain his grip on power, as his regime systematically plunders what remains of Venezuela’s wealth,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinSuspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Mnuchin and McConnell discuss debt limit during brief meeting MORE said in a statement earlier Tuesday.