U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he would have sent an army if he wanted to topple his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro.
Speaking on Fox and Friends, a live talk show on Fox Television, Trump reiterated his denial of U.S. involvement in an alleged recent coup attempt on Maduro.
“We have nothing to do with it. If I wanted to go into Venezuela, I would not make a secret about it.
“I would go in, I would go in and they would do nothing about it, they would roll over.
“I would not send a small little group, it would be called an army,” he said.
In a live broadcast on Monday, Maduro alleged that a group of “mercenaries” invaded Venezuela by sea on Sunday in an attempt to overthrow him.
Maduro, who has often accused the U.S. of trying to topple him, said the aim of the invaders was to smuggle him to the U.S.
He said two American citizens alleged to be part of the mercenaries had been arrested.
The socialist strongman displayed what he alleged to be the passports of the two Americans identified as Airan Berry and Luke Denman.
He said the duo, who work for a Florida-based security company, “were playing Rambo, they were playing hero.”
On Wednesday, Venezuela’s state TV aired a video of Denman apparently confessing to plotting to overthrow Maduro and bring him to the US.
The 34-year-old former U.S. Special Forces member said he was helping Venezuelans to reclaim their country.
Denman said he was hired to train Venezuelans in Colombia before returning to Caracas and taking control of an airport for Maduro to be flown out of the country.
Trump described the invaders as a “rogue group, adding that the mercenaries launched a shambolic attack.
“I don’t know too much about it. This was a rogue group that went in there, a lot of Venezuelans, I think people from other countries also.
“I saw their pictures on a beach. It was not led by General George Washington, obviously, this was not a good attack.
“I think they were caught before they ever hit land, but I know nothing about it, I say that the government has nothing to do with it at all,” he said.
Trump said he would find out what happened, but insisted the U.S. would not handle it that way if it was involved in the mission.
The Trump administration has imposed heavy sanctions on the Venezuelan government over alleged human rights violations.