Trump Keeps Mystery Alive On US Troop Deployment To Colombia

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump refused to address whether he would send U.S. troops to Colombia as a response to the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela, during a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez in the Oval Office Wednesday.

“I never talk about that,” Trump said of deploying U.S. troops to Colombia. Trump was pressed again on the subject and responded to reporters’ inquiries simply by saying, “You’ll see.” The president ushered reporters out of the Oval Office shortly after the question was asked.

The U.S. is now recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela, and is aiming to bolster his ability to seize power from Nicholas Maduro’s regime.  (RELATED: Trump Says Democrats Will Turn America Into Venezuela)

The prospect of U.S. troops to Colombia in response to the Venezuelan crisis came to light after National Security Advisor John Bolton’s notepad was accidentally turned towards the camera with the note “5000 troops to Colombia.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: With handwritten notes on a legal pad, National Security Advisor John Bolton listens to questions from reporters during a press briefing at the White House January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The note was quickly noticed by photographers with high-resolution lenses and distributed on social media. Bolton was in the briefing room on Jan. 28, alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to announce new sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry, aimed at forcing out President Nicolás Maduro from power, though no mention of sending U.S. troops to Colombia was mentioned.

Colombia’s own foreign minister was confused by the note at the time, telling reporters that he had no idea why it existed and he could not speculate as to the “importance and reason.”

The Colombian president did not address any of the military plans in the Oval Office. Trump did not rule out a military option for dealing with the Venezuelan crisis saying of the Colombian government “our militaries are very focused and working together” and that  “there are a number of different of solutions” for dealing with the crisis.

“I always have plan B and C, and D, and E and F… I probably have more flexibility than any many that’s ever been in this office. We’ll see, but there are many plans and we’ll see where we go,” Trump continued.