President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is moving forward with his plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations.”
Trump spoke on the No Spin News podcast with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who posted part of the conversation on his website.
“Look, we’re losing 100,000 people a year to what’s happening and what’s coming through on Mexico. They have unlimited money, the people, the cartels, because they have a lot of money, because it is drug money and human trafficking money,” the president said.
“I don’t want to say what I am going to do, but they will be designated … I like the president very much; this president, much better than the previous president,” he said. “I’ve actually offered him to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer but at some point something has to be done.”
Trump said the designation was not a last-minute decision.
“I have been working on that for the last 90 days,” he said. “You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.’
O’Reilly reminded the president that he would be attacked for the decision.
“I don’t care,” Trump replied. “I’m attacked on everything.”
After nine Americans, including small children, were killed right over the Mexico border in a brutal ambush by a drug cartel earlier this month, Trump called for an intensified attack against Mexico’s drug cartels.
“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!” he tweeted.
This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
Following Trump’s comments to O’Reilly, the Mexican Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it had “entered into communication with the various corresponding authorities” of the United States “to know the content and the reach” of Trump’s plans, The New York Times reported.
The Mexican government said it hoped for a meeting soon with its U.S. counterparts.
“The Government of Mexico will continue its diplomatic work towards an understanding that, through cooperation and intelligence, guarantees the security of both countries,” the statement said.
On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrar had downplayed the possibility of Trump designating the cartels as terrorists and said the two countries were already acting against the cartels.
“You do not need to designate or classify a specific group as terrorist so that we act together against it,” he said.
After Trump’s comments to O’Reilly the following day, Ebrar wrote a bristly tweet on the subject.
“Mexico will not allow any action that signifies violation of its national sovereignty. Mutual respect is the basis of cooperation,” he tweeted, according to a translation of his tweet by the Los Angeles Times.
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