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Trump Wanted Venezuela to Be an Easy Win. When It Wasn't, He Checked Out.

As recently as May, there was talk of military intervention. Now, Trump is reportedly losing interest and patience.

by Tim Marcin
Jun 20 2019, 1:19pm

President Donald Trump’s attention span isn’t exactly the stuff of folklore.

His briefings have to be bullet-pointed. NATO officials once mandated a four-minute rule on speeches so the president wouldn’t drift off. Cable news seems to be the only thing that can hold his attention for an extended period of time.

So it’s not entirely surprising that Trump has reportedly lost interest in the crisis in Venezuela, a once-key issue for the White House. With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro still in power months after his supposed ouster, “the president, officials said, is losing both patience and interest in Venezuela,” the Washington Post reported in a piece published on Thursday.

Years of political discontent followed by economic struggles and a shortage of basic supplies led to the crisis in Venezuela. So the Trump administration joined other nations in backing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president. But the U.S. president reportedly grew frustrated when Guaidó’s call for an uprising went unanswered on April 30. The Post reported Trump chewed out his staff after the failure, which the administration denied.

"Not only is this patently false, but once more the Washington Post traffics in fairy tales rather than the truth," National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis told the paper.

The U.S. has kept up sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime, while hyperinflation has left the nation’s economy reeling.

But Trump is apparently ticked off that he didn’t get an easy win in Venezuela.

An unnamed former official told the Post that Venezuela was “always thought of . . . as low-hanging fruit” on which Trump “could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory.”

“Five or six months later . . . it’s not coming together,” the official added.

As the Post noted, whereas Trump once regularly tweeted and pontificated about Venezuela, the issue has been moved to the backburner in the last month or so. In early May there was lots of talk about (and fears over) potential military intervention, which has seemingly cooled in the month or so that followed.

And while Trump did talk about the crisis in a press gaggle last week, he seemed to use it to make a political dig against potential 2020 Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

“We're looking at that and we're very much involved with the Venezuela crisis. It's a horrible thing, a horrible situation,” he said. “It's been brewing for many years. It really started, in the worst form, during the Biden-Obama administration. But it's been brewing for a long time.”

Cover: Friends mourn the death of Yhoifer Jesus Hernandez Vazquez, 14, during his funeral in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 4, 2019. The 14-year-old died Thursday after he was shot on Wednesday, May 1, during protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)