Earlier today, Rex Tillerson made the mistake of appearing at a press conference with Donald Trump when the subject of Venezuela came up and this happened:
President Trump just said he wouldn't rule out a "military option" in Venezuela. "A military..option is certainly something we could pursue" pic.twitter.com/bdfDg5oPZs
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 11, 2017
This is a partial transcript:
“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” he said.
“We have many options for Venezuela, this is our neighbor,” Trump added. “We’re 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 and dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”
You can nearly see the little “WTF” thought balloon above Tillerson’s head.
Of course. There is always a military option but tossing it about cavalierly isn’t the way it has historically been done.
This caused a mini-bubble of claims that Trump had threatened to use military force.
This is an irresponsible headline. It's not what he said and unnecessarily spins people up. https://t.co/ercjftOMDt
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 11, 2017
John Noonan used to work at the House Armed Services Committee and works for Tom Cotton now. He’s not a Trump fan and to get him to defend Trump was quite an accomplishment by the AP.
Just a short while ago, this came out of the White House:
#BREAKING Trump will speak to Maduro when 'democracy is restored' in Venezuela: White House
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 12, 2017
The situation in Venezuela is perilous and to a great extent Trump’s comment was unhelpful. It gives Maduro the excuse to paint his opposition as American stooges (much the way other people call their opponents tools of Russia) and Trump refusing his call probably didn’t hurt him any. Having said that, after making the statement he did, refusing Maduro’s call was the best course of action available. So there is that.