McMaster stressed that the administration is presenting Trump with "integrated options" to approaching the Venezuelan regime
Trump first mentioned the possibility of using military force in Venezuela earlier this month
The US doesn’t anticipate intervening militarily in the Venezuela crisis “in the near future,” national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said Friday, two weeks after President Donald Trump said he hadn’t ruled out such an option.
McMaster stressed that the administration is presenting Trump with “integrated options” to approaching the Venezuelan regime led by leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has consolidated power by holding a vote to replace the opposition-controlled National Assembly with a new legislature fulled with his supporters, drawing sanctions and rebukes by nations including the United States. Social unrest and violent protests have left more than 120 dead since April.
The economy also is spiraling out of control, with food shortages that have led to widespread malnutrition, and analysts expecting the country will soon default on loans.
According to McMaster, Trump has asked top national security officials not only for plans for economic sanctions, but also options in case of “further deterioration” in the country. He was careful not to rule out the use of military force while speaking to reporters on Friday.
“No military actions are anticipated in the near future,” McMaster said.
Trump first mentioned the possibility of using military force in Venezuela earlier this month, telling reporters: “We have many options for Venezuela, and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option for Venezuela,” Trump said. He went on to say that, “Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they’re dying.”
But Vice President Mike Pence, during a visit to Colombia last week, tried to walk back the idea without flatly contradicting the President.
According to Pence, Trump’s comments about military action were meant to convey “resolve and determination … to not let this moment slip, to not stand idly by while a neighbor collapses into dictatorship.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called military action “unacceptable” as he stood next to Pence.
Asked about the Vice President’s recent trip to South America, McMaster said that he doesn’t think “there’s ever been a time where we’ve been better aligned with our partners in the region.”
CNN’s Nicole Gaouette and CNNMoney’s Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.