President Trump says U.S. is ready to intervene in Venezuela

President Trump said Monday the U.S. is prepared to “take further action” to intervene in Venezuela’s democratic collapse — apparently hinting once again at a possible military campaign there.

At a dinner with Latin American leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump called the burgeoning crisis in Venezuela “totally unacceptable” and said the U.S. was ready to ensure its democracy could be restored.

“The Venezuelan people are starving,” Trump said.

“The country is collapsing, their democratic institutions are being destroyed.”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been pushing the country toward autocracy as he struggles to turn around an unprecedented financial crisis spurred by a drop in global oil prices. Venezuela is a major oil producer and supplies 10% of the oil consumed by the U.S.

RELATED: See the brutal unrest in the country

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Man set on fire during Venezuela protests
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Man set on fire during Venezuela protests
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro runs amidst opposition supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TEMPLATE OUT . VENEZUELA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY SEARCH "BELLO FIRE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHPeople stand around a man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TEMPLATE OUT. VENEZUELA OUT.
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHPeople stand around a man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello VENEZUELA OUT. TEMPLATE OUT
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHOpposition supporters stand around a man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TEMPLATE OUT. VENEZUELA OUT.
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURYAn opposition supporter runs after a man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TEMPLATE OUT VENEZUELA OUT.
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHA man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro runs amidst opposition supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TEMPLATE OUT . VENEZUELA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHOpposition supporters stand around a man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello VENEZUELA OUT. TEMPLATE OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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This year, Maduro has cracked down on his political opponents, tossing protesters in jail and deploying security forces that have killed nearly 50 people at demonstrations. Maduro held a rigged election in July that replaced the country’s parliament with a body of his supporters, who are now pushing to rewrite the constitution to expand his executive powers.

Trump said the U.S. had to “take important steps to hold the regime accountable,” though he avoided specifics.

Soon after midnight, he tweeted, “We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela, and we want it to happen very, very soon!”

Trump in August dropped his first reference to a “military option” for Venezuela — an unexpected comment that raised alarms there and in America. He has not appeared to take any steps since then to begin a military intervention in Maduro’s crisis.

See Trump's speech to the UN:

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President Donald Trump speaks at the United Nations
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President Donald Trump speaks at the United Nations
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: President Donald Trump prepares to speak to world leaders at the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City. This is Trump� first appearance at the General Assembly where he addressed threats from Iran and North Korea among other global concerns. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to address the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. President Donald Trump steps up to deliver his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump arrives to address the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: President Donald Trump prepares to speak to world leaders at the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City. This is Trump� first appearance at the General Assembly where he addressed threats from Iran and North Korea among other global concerns. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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