A longtime Barack Obama administration insider says he fears that President Donald Trump could order military action in Venezuela as a way to gain political favor.
Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, which has more shootings and related violence than just about anywhere else in the nation, claims in a report by CNBC that he thinks military aggression could be this year’s “October surprise.”
The report comes in John Harwood’s column for the network.
It was reported earlier this month that U.S. officials had met secretly with Venezuelan military officers who were hoping for a coup against President Nicolas Maduro.
CNN said its sources revealed that there were several meetings, but U.S. officials ultimately decided against backing the coup.
The White House has publicly stated it supports “a peaceful orderly return to democracy” in the nation, which has been severely troubled by socialist policies that have caused shortages of food, basic supplies and jobs, along with exploding inflation.
National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis expressed hope for a lasting solution to Venezuela’s crisis, which he said only would happen following restoration of governance by democratic practices, “the rule of law,” and respect for human rights.
CNBC said Trump has “entertained” the possibility of military intervention.
So Emanuel said members of Congress should flash the caution lights because he fears Trump will make a move.
“We have a phrase in this country: the October surprise,” the Chicago mayor told CNBC. “I think in this situation he is looking to do anything and will do anything.”
The former Obama adviser said: “If you’re going to take military action, lay out the case. The Senate should be asking serious questions now — not after the fact.”
The White House declined comment on Emanuel’s speculations.
Reported CNBC: “As a senior adviser in the Clinton White House, Emanuel has been on the receiving end of the same kind of suspicion he now directs at Trump. In 1998, Republicans wondered aloud whether Clinton ordered air strikes against Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq to divert attention from his affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment. Emanuel insisted the circumstances are not comparable because Clinton’s orders were vetted and endorsed by his national security team.”