Trump Vows to Wage War on Mexican Drug Cartels With Full Force of US Military

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Former President Donald Trump said on Jan. 5 that if he’s successful in his bid for the presidency in 2024, he will order the U.S. military to crush Mexican drug cartels and show them “no mercy.”

Trump made the announcement as President Joe Biden was preparing to make his first visit to the U.S.–Mexico border since taking office.

In a video statement on Thursday, Trump blamed “Biden’s open border policies,” which he called a “deadly betrayal of our nation,” for fueling drug-related deaths among Americans.

Illegal immigration has soared under Biden’s watch, with unauthorized crossings exceeding 2.3 million in fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection data. That figure topped the previous record by around 1 million and was more than twice the highest level recorded under Trump.

Trump, who previously suggested using U.S. military force against drug cartels operating south of the border, including by reportedly launching missiles into Mexico to destroy drug labs, said in Thursday’s video that deadly narcotics like fentanyl are pouring “across our wide open border” and are “stealing hundreds of thousands of beautiful American lives.”

Since Biden took office, 200,000 Americans have died on drug overdoses, Trump said.

Drug cartels are “waging war on America,” Trump continued, adding that the time has now come “for America to wage war on cartels.”

Trump claimed he would designate cartels as foreign terrorist organisations and block their access to the global financial system, while asking Congress to pass laws that would punish drug smugglers and human traffickers with the death penalty.

“When I am president, it will be the policy of the United States to take down the cartels, just as we took down ISIS and the ISIS caliphate—and just as, unlike the situation we are in today, we had a very, very strong border,” Trump said.

The former president said he would deploy all necessary military assets, including the U.S. Navy, to impose a naval embargo on cartels and make sure they can’t use regional waters to smuggle drugs into the country.

Further, he would “order the Department of Defense to make appropriate use of special forces, cyber warfare, and other overt and covert actions to inflict maximum damage on cartel leadership, infrastructure, and operations.”

“Millions and millions of families and people are being destroyed. When I am back in the White House, the drug kingpins and vicious traffickers will never sleep soundly again,” Trump said.

“We did it once, and we did it better than anybody else.”

By Tom Ozimek

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