DC Roundup: North Korea Warnings, Venezuela, White House Visit

Developments in Washington, D.C., on Friday include President Donald Trump continuing the heated rhetoric against North Korea, warning of a possible U.S. military option in Venezuela, as well as a discussion of whether his tweets, and their use of rhetoric, keep the world on edge.

Trump Says He Is Considering Military Action in Venezuela — Trump says a military option against Venezuela is on the table, describing the situation there as a “dangerous mess.” “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary,” Trump told reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey.

Trump, Chinese President to Discuss ‘Dangerous’ North Korea Situation — Trump says he will speak by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night about what he called the “very dangerous” situation with North Korea. He also repeated his earlier warnings to North Korea against threats or actions toward the United States, saying “if anything happens to Guam, there’s going to be big, big trouble in North Korea.” Pyongyang has threatened to send missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory, which is home to a major U.S. military hub.

Remarks by Trump After National Security Officials’ Meeting

Trump’s Tweets, Use of Rhetoric, Keep World on Edge — Trump’s words, both in person and on social media, fell into a pattern of what U.S. allies and partners describe as a concerning new reality, that of a world leader constantly ratcheting up his rhetoric while playing to his political base, even on the world stage. At best, these officials describe Trump’s rhetoric and tweets as distractions to be ignored. At worst, they say, they can be a complication. The officials, from several countries long considered key U.S. allies or which have forged important relationships with the U.S., agreed to speak to VOA over a course of several months, insisting on anonymity because of the high degree of sensitivity surrounding such matters.

Trump to Make Brief Trip to NYC, DC During August Vacation — Trump will briefly interrupt his working vacation to make a one-day trip to Washington, according to White House officials. Officials did not say why the president would be making the trip to the White House, where the Oval Office is undergoing routine renovations.

US VP Pence Embraces Role as Key Diplomat — Vice President Mike Pence heads to Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama on Sunday, meeting with foreign leaders in a role that is becoming familiar for an administration that has left many top diplomatic posts unfilled. Since April, Pence has visited South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia, attended security meetings in Munich and Brussels, and traveled to Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro.

Venezuelan Leader Wants a Face-to-Face Meeting with Trump — Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said Thursday he wants to meet the man who hit him with sanctions, Trump, denouncing what he called “imperialist aggression.” In an address that lasted more than three hours to the newly installed 545-member constitutional assembly, Maduro said he had instructed Venezuela’s foreign minister to approach the United States about arranging a telephone conversation or a meeting with Trump.

US Special Counsel Mueller Probes Trump Finances — What does Trump’s 2008 sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian billionaire have to do with collusion during the 2016 election? On the surface, not a whole lot. Two years later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators are taking a closer look at the lucrative sale — as well as a host of other deals involving Trump’s businesses — as they search for clues into whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Moscow to influence last year’s election.

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