It was sometimes a picture of a president who disagreed with the officials who vociferously demanded a change of power in Caracas this week and always refused to exclude US military intervention.
Trump This week, national security adviser John Bolton and others who openly upset military options were frustrated and told friends that if he chose Bolton, he would already be at war in several places.
Trump has long said "all options are on the table" with regard to Venezuela, where embattled President Nicolas Maduro is hanging in power despite street protests and US sanctions. However, in recent days, aid workers appeared to be more interested in military options than an uprising by opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the US recognizes as the country's legitimate president, has not failed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Fox news interviewer that "military action is possible, and if necessary, the United States will do so." And Bolton has pushed the Pentagon for military options and this week told an interviewer that the US would not allow Guaido to be abused.
But Trump, who left room for Bolton to deal with the situation in Venezuela, seemed more cautious this week. He expressed his concern in private concern over how solid Guaido's plans are to take power and support the Venezuelan military to win.
Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, defended Bolton's work.
"Bolton is fully implementing the president's strategy for a peaceful transition to democracy in Venezuela, as President Trump himself has made clear, all options are on the table," Marquis said in a statement.
Questions Relating to the Reliability of US Intelligence
In the meetings throughout the week, Trump had urged helpers on how reliable the information from Guaido and Venezuela was and whether they were interpreted correctly. According to people who are familiar with the talks.
On Wednesday, the White House held a very brief meeting to discuss further steps in Venezuela, but it only took about 10 to 15 minutes, a person familiar with the meeting said. Bolton attended the meeting, but Trump did not.
"This was really a real report and then made sure we were all in line" Reigning Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters after the meeting. "We have a comprehensive set of options that are tailored to specific conditions, and I might leave it at that."
His prudent response reflected Trump's desire to maintain a more reserved attitude in the prospect of a military, which he has not ruled out.
Bolton has sometimes exploited his hawk reputation to his advantage. Many Trump advisers (including some former officials) believe Bolton's notorious "5,000 man to Colombia" note on a yellow notepad was scrawled in the face of cameras intending to send Maduro a message, and the White House has it never fully explained.
"All options are on the table"
However, the president has told his helpers that he wants to stay with the line that "all options are on the table", without expressly referring to military ones To take actions. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday night, Trump referred to military action, but not specifically.
"We have many options, and some of them are very tough options," he said.
Trump hesitates to elaborate his case The military options are in line with his long-held, though sometimes ignored, view that presidents should not telegraph their military intentions ahead of time. And his reluctance to enter into another conflict of disagreement corresponds to an anti-interventionist stance he has adopted in Syria and Afghanistan.
However, this somewhat conflicts with his allies, including Senator Lindsey Graham, who openly advocated a tougher military approach towards Venezuela on Friday.
"Cuba, Russia sends troops to support Maduro in Venezuela … … while talking / sanctioning Where is our aircraft carrier? "He wrote on Twitter.
Trump is anxious to abandon Maduro's power, but has made it clear to the advisors that he does not want to order a mission that would turn into an expanded engagement with unforeseen consequences. 19659002] Trump has privately linked the situation in Venezuela to politics, particularly in Florida, and some of Trump's political advisors see a political upturn as Maduro leaves office. They believe that Venezuelan-American voters in Florida are more apt to vote for Trump and Republicans when Maduro leaves. And the Cuban-American voters (who are already a slender Republican) may be forced to support Trump as well.
The Trump government officials seemed to believe Tuesday morning that Guaido's protests would overthrow Maduro from power. But by the end of the day, it was clear that Maduro would at least stay for now.
But Trump later downplayed these reports as "rumors" in an interview with Fox Business Network and said after a phone conversation with Putin on Friday that he was convinced that Russia did not want to interfere in the affairs of the country.
"He's not in search of Venezuela unless he wants to see something positive for Venezuela," Trump told the Oval Office. "And I feel the same way."
Ryan Browne of CNN contributed to this report.