In Brief

Donald Trump wanted to invade Venezuela

Top aides ‘took it in turns’ trying to talk US president out of the idea

Donald Trump repeatedly argued for a US invasion of Venezuela last year to remove President Nicolas Maduro and stabilise the troubled country, according to the Associated Press.

Its report, citing an unnamed White House official, says that Trump first floated the idea at a meeting in the Oval Office. The suggestion “stunned those present at the meeting, including US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster”, it reports.

The following day, Trump publicly raised the idea during a speech, saying: “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”

According to the report, Trump then raised the idea privately with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, before quizzing the leaders of four Latin American nations during a private dinner on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“My staff told me not to say this,” Trump said, and then “asked the other leaders at the table in turn, if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution.”

They said they were sure, and McMaster eventually managed to persuade Trump of the dangers of an invasion, the AP report says.

The White House said it would not comment on the content of private conversations.

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