President Donald Trump has openly discussed using “military force” in Venezuela as his administration pushes for regime change in the country, according to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Graham, a close Trump ally, told Axios that Trump broached the matter in the last couple of weeks.
Graham told the outlet, "He [Trump] said, 'What do you think about using military force?' and I said, 'Well, you need to go slow on that, that could be problematic.' And he said, 'Well, I'm surprised, you want to invade everybody.'"
"And I said, 'I don't want to invade everybody, I only want to use the military when our national security interests are threatened,’” Graham added.
Graham told Axios that “Trump’s really hawkish” on Venezuela.
Admin officials say no military plans yet:
“To be clear: There are no signs that the Trump administration is planning to invade Venezuela, and my conversations with senior administration officials signal that the coming pressures to accelerate regime change are diplomatic and economic,” Axios reported, adding that the administration is expected to “target Nicolás Maduro's oil and offshore wealth in the coming weeks and try to divert that wealth to the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, whom Trump recognized last week as the interim president of Venezuela.”
Trump discussed ‘military option’ before:
The New York Times reported in August 2017 that Trump sparked panic in Venezuela when he would not rule out a “military option” in the country.
“Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering, and they’re dying,” Trump said. “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”