During an interview with CBS's Margaret Brennan, President Trump revealed that he declined an invitation to meet Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro several months before recognizing Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of the country.
"A number of months ago he wanted to meet," Trump said of Maduro. "I decided at the time, 'no' because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela."
With street protests growing and two presumptive presidents, the fate of Venezuela seems to rest in the hands of the country's military and which leader they will choose to follow. President Trump said the use of U.S. forces in the poverty-stricken country remains an "option."
MARGARET BRENNAN: What would make you use the U.S. military in Venezuela? What's the national security interest?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I don't want to say that. But certainly, it's something that's on the- it's an option.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you personally negotiate with Nicolás Maduro to convince him to exit?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well he is requested a meeting and I've turned it down because we're very far along in the process. You have a young and energetic gentleman but you have other people within that same group that have been very very - if you talk about democracy - it's really democracy in action.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When did he request a meeting?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're going to see what happened. A number of months ago he wanted to meet.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But now because you're at that crisis point--
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well now we'd have to see.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you negotiate that?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would say this. I decided at the time, 'no' because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela when you look at that country. That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world which is a very important part of the world. And now you look at the poverty and you look at the anguish and you look at the crime and you look at all of the things happening. So, I think the process is playing out - very very big tremendous protests.