In both 2021 and 2022, reports surfaced that former President Donald Trump wanted to send troops into Mexico to hunt down the drug cartels.
It wasn’t exactly news. On Twitter in 2019, after cartel gunmen slaughtered nine Americans, including six children, who were in Mexico, Trump 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.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador respectfully declined the offer.
In October 2021, the New York Times noted Trump’s former aides shared that Trump later mulled over sending in troops without Mexico’s permission.
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In May 2022, Mark Esper, Trump’s former defense secretary, released a memoir that, in one part, noted that Trump twice flirted with the idea of firing missiles at cartel operations across the border.
Now, one Florida Republican thinks Trump was on to something.
GOP Rep. Michael Waltz of St. Augustine, the first Green Beret elected to Congress, argued that Congress needed to adopt an Authorization for Use of Military Force against the cartels.
Waltz, in an interview with Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, responded to Trump last week renewing his desire to send in American troops to take care of the drug lords.
Waltz indicated that he backed Trump’s play to a point.
“The cartels are running our border,” Waltz said. “The cartels are destabilizing our neighbor, the entire Mexican government. We need to go on offense against them.”
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“I will introduce legislation to authorize the use of military force against these cartels,” he added. “They are defeating the Mexican army. These are paramilitary entities with billions and billions [of dollars] at their disposal.”
“I want to be clear,” Waltz added. “I’m not talking about U.S. troops. But I’m talking about cyber, drones, intelligence assets, naval assets.”
“They are fighting the entire Mexican army to a standstill right now,” he said. “We need to support them [Mexican troops] with our military assets.”