In the oval office during a meeting about sanctions the United States has imposed on oil rich Venezuela, Trump turned to his top aides and asked: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can't the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?
Speaking to the leaders about a military intervention at the private dinner, President Trump said: "My staff told me not to say this".
"This proposal has shocked those who attended the meeting, including U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson and presidential adviser on security issues Herbert McMaster, who later left their posts", - stated in the message.
Trump's bullish stance against Venezuela could actually bolster Maduro's standing at home, however, as Maduro's supporters have long lamented Washington's involvement in domestic affairs and used anti-US sentiment to unite against his opponents. One of them was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, while the identities of the other leaders are not known.
Trump nonetheless persisted. He pointed to the successful invasions of Panama and Grenada during the 1980s - countries which, together, have about 13 percent of Venezuela's population - as examples of successful military interventions in the region.
Eventually, Mr McMaster pulled the president aside and walked him through the dangers of an invasion, the official said. But critics say it also underscores how his "America First" foreign policy at times can seem outright reckless, providing ammunition to America's adversaries.
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The White house declined to comment on the subject. However, a National Security Council spokesman told AP that the United States still considers all options at its disposal to help "restore Venezuela's democracy". The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for nationwide "anti-imperialist" drills in response to this threat, while Russian Federation denounced any plans of military intervention into the Latin American country as "unacceptable".
"No, it is not a coincidence", Maduro said.
Seated at dinner with four allies from Latin American countries, President Trump defied his advisers and asked about a military solution to Venezuela's troubles.
Even some of the staunchest United States allies were begrudgingly forced to side with Maduro in condemning Trump's saber rattling.
Leaving aside the obvious logistical difficulties of invading a country with roughly the same population levels as, for example, Iraq, Trump's rhetoric plays straight into Maduro's hands: The Venezuelan leader has consistently claimed that the protests which Venezuela has seen in wake of his sham election victory in May are part of a USA -backed plot to oust him and seize Venezuela's oil.