Trump: Considering military response to Venezuela

President made the remarks in New Jersey

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s considering possible military action against Venezuela in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s power grab.

Trump tells reporters at his New Jersey golf course Friday that he’s “not going to rule out” a military option.”

He adds that it’s “certainly something that we could pursue.”

Trump has been blasting Maduro’s moves to consolidate power, describing him as a “dictator.”

The Trump administration has issued a series of sanctions against Maduro and more than two dozen current and former Venezuelan officials.

But a military intervention would be an extraordinary escalation in response

Trump ‘being sarcastic’ with Putin comment

The White House says President Donald Trump was not being serious when he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering a drastic reduction in the number of U.S. diplomatic employees and saving the U.S. significant cash.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that Trump “was being sarcastic” when he made the remark a day earlier.

Trump had said he “greatly” appreciated Putin’s help cutting down the State Department’s payroll. At the time, it was unclear whether he was joking.

Putin said last month the U.S. would have to cut 755 of its diplomatic staff in Russia — a response to new sanctions that seek to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.