US President Donald Trump repeatedly raised the idea of invading a neighboring South American country last year, despite the objections of his aides, a new report says.
In August 2017, Trump had a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss new sanctions against Venezuela and toward the end of the discussion the US president shocked his aides by asking why the US cannot simply invade the country.
Trump proposed a military intervention on the pretext that Venezuela’s political and economic crises presented a threat to the region. The aim of the invasion would have been the forced removal of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.
According to an Associated Press report, both National Security Adviser HR McMaster and then-US-Secretary-of-State Rex Tillerson were stunned by the suggestion. After the initial shock, the two aides went out of their way to explain to POTUS that this would be a very bad idea.
They argued that a military intervention would alienate other Latin American nations who have long worked together to punish and ostracize Maduro.
The aides did not convince Trump at the time, according to the report, as 45 pointed out that US invasions of Panama and Grenada during the 1980s were what the president considered to be big successes.
The next day, Trump publicly announced — without first consulting his cabinet — that a military option for Venezuela was on the table.
“We’re all over the world and we have troops all…