As many fret over the increasingly tense relationship between the US and North Korea, President Trump threw another country into the mix Friday: Venezuela. Speaking to reporters Friday from his New Jersey golf club, flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, and National Security Adviser HR McMaster, Trump offered what Reuters calls a "surprise escalation" on the US response to Venezuela's current political upheaval, in which more than 120 people have been killed and thousands arrested over the past four months. "Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and they are dying," Trump told reporters, per the Hill. "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."
When pressed by reporters on whether that meant the US would lead an operation in the South American country, Trump replied, "We don't talk about it, but a military operation—a military option—is certainly something that we could pursue." The US just hit Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with financial sanctions in late July, with a statement from Trump noting: "Maduro is not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator." The Pentagon told Reuters it has yet to receive any instructions from the president regarding Venezuela. Meanwhile, one reporter circled back to North Korea during Trump's appearance, asking, "Is the US going to go to war?" after Trump mentioned a possible "bad solution" to the Korea problem, per CBS News. "I think you know the answer to that," the president replied.