WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday again said the U.S. government was not behind a bungled incursion into Venezuela this week, allegedly to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, saying in a Fox News interview he would not rely on a small group for such an operation.
“I know nothing about it. I think the government has nothing to do with it at all, and I have to find out what happened,” Trump said. “If we ever did anything with Venezuela, it wouldn’t be that way. It would be slightly different. It would be called an invasion.”
Trump said the incursion “was not a good attack,” carried out by a “rogue group” that included Venezuelans and “people from other countries.”
“I saw the pictures on a beach. It wasn’t led by General George Washington, obviously,” he said, referring to the first U.S. president, often considered a military genius.
A former U.S. soldier captured in Venezuela has said he was contracted by a Florida security firm to seize control of Caracas’ airport and bring in a plane to fly Maduro to the United States. According to a document published by the Washington Post on Thursday, members of the country’s opposition party negotiated a $213 million deal with the company, Silvercorp USA, to invade the country and overthrow Maduro.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)