Donald Trump has said US military intervention is an option in response to Venezuela’s descent into political chaos.
Speaking to reporters at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Mr Trump bemoaned the growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and declared that all options remain on the table, including potential military action.
“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Mr Trump volunteered, adding: “A military operation and military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”
Mr Trump’s comments mark a serious escalation in rhetoric since the US has up to now been stressing a regional approach to the crisis.
The comments follow a 30 July vote in Venezuela that has allowed President Nicolas Maduro to replace the opposition-dominated National Assembly with a new Constituent Assembly.
The US has imposed sanctions against Mr Maduro and more than two dozen current and former Venezuelan officials in response to the vote and a crackdown on opposition leaders.
Venezuela’s defense minister called Trump’s talk of a military intervention an act of “craziness” and “supreme extremism.”
It comes at a time when Mr Trump is facing calls from China to rein in his comments over North Korea.