In a Monday speech to an audience of Venezuelan-Americans and immigrants from Venezuela, Donald Trump hinted that he would be willing to take military action against that country to oust strongman President Nicolás Maduro, whom Trump condemned as a “Cuban puppet” in the speech, Inquisitr reported. But in his new book, former Acting Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Andrew McCabe quotes Trump offering a different motive for war against the South American country of nearly 33 million people.
In an interview with the MSNBC cable news network on Tuesday, McCabe recounted an Oval Office meeting between Trump and top United States intelligence and security officials, an incident also recounted in McCabe’s newly published book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
“I don’t understand why we’re not looking at Venezuela,” Trump said in the meeting, McCabe told MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell in an interview posted on Twitter. “Why we’re not a war with Venezuela? They have all the oil and they’re in our back door.”
The incident is also recorded on page 137 of McCabe’s book, according to an excerpt posted on Twitter. In the book, McCabe recounts Trump’s words in similar fashion.
“Then the president talked about Venezuela,” McCabe wrote, going on to paraphrase Trump. “That’s the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door. He continued on, rambling and spitballing about whatever came to mind.”
While McCabe remains the sole source for the Trump quote about desiring war with Venezuela, the quote would be consistent with Trump’s earlier, publicly stated desire to seize oil from Iraq, following the U.S. invasion and lengthy occupation there.
“We go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then what happens is we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils,” Trump said in a speech during the 2016 presidential campaign, as quoted by the Guardian. “One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is ISIS would not have been able to take oil and use that oil to fuel themselves.”
Trump apparently never abandoned the idea of somehow taking oil from Iraq as payment for the invasion. According to an Axios report, in meetings with the Iraqi prime minister during 2017, Trump on two occasions mentioned his idea of seizing Iraqi oil.
But national security officials at the time declared Trump’s idea as “outrageous and unworkable — a violation of international law,” according to the Axios report.