Late Friday, Trump said he wouldn't rule out military action against Venezuela to solve a worsening crisis in the Latin American nation. Trump said Venezuela's "people are suffering, and they are dying."
"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary," Trump said Friday.
But Trump wouldn't offer specifics about whether U.S. troops would lead such a military operation, and when asked he responded: "We don't talk about it. But a military option, a military option, is certainly something we could pursue."
In response to Venezuela's planned national exercises, a Pentagon spokesperson Monday said: "We do plan for a wide variety of military options for a range of potential contingencies. But we wouldn't discuss the specifics of operations."
Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on the Venezuela situation Monday during a visit to Latin America where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Santos, Pence said, "In Venezuela, we're seeing the tragedy of tyranny play out before our eyes. The Maduro regime has ignored and undermined its National Assembly. It's stifled the voices of a free press and the masses alike, and imprisoned countless political opponents."
Pence noted that "more than 130 brave Venezuelans" have lost their lives fighting for democracy in the troubled country.
Pence added, "The United States, Colombia, and free nations of Latin America will not be silent. Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship, and as President Donald Trump has said, 'The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.' We will continue to stand with free nations across our hemisphere until democracy is restored for the Venezuelan people."