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13 Sep, 2019 00:07

‘Bolton held me back!’ Trump says he’s a BIGGER hawk on Venezuela & Cuba than fired adviser

‘Bolton held me back!’ Trump says he’s a BIGGER hawk on Venezuela & Cuba than fired adviser

After the abrupt termination of National Security Advisor John Bolton, US President Donald Trump insists that the White House appointee only held back his hawkish policy views on Latin America – but does someone else have his ear?

Piggybacking on a tweet from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on Thursday, the president affirmed that any “policy changes” post-Bolton would be headed in a more hostile direction, noting that his views on Venezuela and Cuba “were far stronger than those of John Bolton,” and that “he was holding me back!”

He repeated those claims to reporters outside the White House on Thursday evening, adding that "it’s going to be a very interesting period of time” when it comes to the forthcoming US actions in Venezuela. He did not elaborate what those might entail.

Beyond intermittent threats from US officials, Venezuela appeared to be on the White House back-burner as of late, with a US-sponsored coup attempt in April failing to unseat Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, or inspire mass defections from the military.

While President Trump confirmed in August that “secret” talks with Venezuelan officials under Maduro had been underway for months, he now appears to have switched gears, suggesting he will pursue tougher policies against the tough cookie Maduro.

The mood swing may be explained by recent reports that Maduro intends to present a petition to the United Nations critical of the US president and his policies – likely including his “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign currently crippling the Venezuelan economy. However, Trump may have found inspiration closer to home.

Also on rt.com Abrams calls to ‘imagine’ Venezuela with billions of dollars from US and without Maduro

Bolton is not the only Trump appointee known for hawkish bluster, and his own party provides a virtually endless supply of the same. Special envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams is himself a die-hard advocate for regime change in the Latin American country, while Trump’s recent meeting with Senator Rubio – who also calls for Maduro’s ouster – may also bode well for the hawks and their influence in Washington.

Whether the president intends a substantial policy change or is merely flirting with tough talk remains to be seen, but the hawks perched around him will surely latch onto his latest comment and attempt to push him further into the camp of endless intervention.

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