0547 GMT December 17, 2017
"We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option," Trump said following a meeting with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his New Jersey golf club, according to CNN.
"This is our neighbor," he added. "You know, we are 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 they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."
On Friday evening, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the Defense Department has not been ordered to make any military movements related to Venezuela — but is prepared for that if need be.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino called Trump's talk of possible military action a "crazy act."
"As minister of defense and as a citizen I say this is a crazy act, an act of supreme extremism," Padrino said via phone on state-owned television network VTV.
"There is an extremist elite in the US government," he added, "and I really don't know what is happening and what will happen in the world. If humanity will end. If planet Earth will end."
The president of Venezuela's new Constituent Assembly — the body elected to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution amid the country's political crisis — fired off a series of tweets late Friday slamming Trump's remarks as "cowardly, insolent and vile threats."
Assembly president and former foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez added in her tweets that "insults and aggressions" against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would be rejected by the "anti-imperialist people of Venezuela."