The Pentagon said it has not recieved any orders regarding Venezuela and referred the media back to the White House.
Shortly after the U.S. President Donald Trump said a military option is not being ruled out for Venezuela, the White House issued a statement saying it had rejected a request from his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro to have a telephone conversation with him.
It is not clear if Maduro asked for the call before or after Trump’s remarks.
The White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ statement said “Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people”
It continued, “The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship…President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”
Speaking after talks at his New Jersey golf club with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump told reporters, “We have many options for Venezuela and by the way I’m not going to rule out military options.”
He added, “We have many options ..this is our neighbour. We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering. They’re dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary.” A reporter then asked if Trump was proposing a U.S. military-led operation.
And he replied, “We don’t talk about it but a military operation, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”
The President of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly Delcy Rodriguez tweeted “We reject the cowardly, insolent and infamous threats of the United States PDT @realDonaldTrump against the sacred sovereignty of Venezuela”