INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Former President Donald Trump told Breitbart News exclusively that he supports a proposal from Reps. Michael Waltz (R-FL) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) that would authorize the use of military force against Mexican drug cartels to target the criminal enterprises and dismantle them.
“I would do that,” Trump said when asked about the congressmen’s Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) legislation that they have recently proposed.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Trump had earlier this year released a policy video in which he explained he supported using the military to target the cartels, but this is the first time he has weighed in on the specific proposal before Congress to do so. In response to Waltz’s AUMF plan, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said he opposes it and even threatened to interfere in U.S. elections to help Democrats and oppose Republicans in response to it.
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“In addition to being irresponsible, it is an offense to the people of Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said in March.
Trump, in his exclusive interview here with Breitbart News last week after his speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual gathering, noted that he does in fact have a good relationship with Lopez Obrador.
Trump called Lopez Obrador a “gentleman,” even though he is a “socialist” and argued that if elected back to the White House he believes he would be able to work with the Mexican leader to crush the cartels and use U.S. military assets to help.
President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during the Presidential Daily Morning Briefing on November 13, 2019, in Mexico City, Mexico. (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
“I also have a very good relationship with the president of Mexico,” Trump told Breitbart News. “He’s a socialist but he also happens to be a gentleman. You can’t have everything, right? But he’s a great person. Certainly, I would deal with him. This is an invasion of our country — this isn’t just people walking over. This is an invasion. Many of these are people we do not want in our country. They’re very bad for our country. They’re very bad and dangerous. But this is an invasion of our country. Nope, we will stop it and we will stop it immediately.”
Trump is right that he and Lopez Obrador had a decent working relationship when he was president. In fact, that relationship was the foundation for one of Trump’s most consequential policies, the Remain-in-Mexico plan, which had asylum seekers stay on the other side of the border while their claims were processed rather than being released into the United States as current Democrat President Joe Biden is doing by the millions.
Waltz, in an exclusive interview last month at the House GOP conference retreat in Orlando, told Breitbart News that what his AUMF would open up is the use of military resources like space and cyber assets.
“It essentially authorizes military resources,” Waltz said. “So, space assets for targeting. Your Border Patrol — our law enforcement and border entities don’t have their own space assets. The military does. Offensive cyber — as opposed to just defending our networks here at home, but actually getting inside somebody else’s networks and start disrupting their money, their logistics, their ability to communicate. That all sits inside the Defense Department. So, this would authorize the use — this would authorize the use of military force, but I think it’s more accurate to call it resources.”
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL). (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Waltz added then too that there could be some limited U.S. special forces strikes against cartel leadership under the AUMF proposal, but it would not amount to an invasion of Mexico.
“We’re not talking about an invasion of Mexico. That’s just a bunch of nonsense,” Waltz also said. “Could we be talking about very selective special operations targeting of key personnel or kill/capture? Yes, absolutely. Again, we got to begin thinking about them differently. In the 90s, we were running around the world trying to arrest Al Qaeda. After 9/11, we were killing or capturing Al Qaeda. So that is the mindset and that is the actual authorization from Congress we’re trying to get passed for the administration.”
Waltz during that interview compared his proposal to something that former Democrat President Bill Clinton did with the Colombian government in the 1990s to use the U.S. military to help dismantle two major Colombian cartels. That mission, titled Plan Colombia, saw the U.S. military cooperating with the Colombian government to successfully destroy the Cali and the Medellin cartels.
Asked about that comparison that Waltz made back to Plan Colombia during the Clinton years, Trump told Breitbart News that “absolutely” he could see something like that with Lopez Obrador and Mexico if he’s back in the White House. Trump also noted that many people streaming across the border are sick or susceptible to spreading serious diseases, something recent statistics confirm. As Breitbart News reported this week, for instance, more than half of the border crossers brought to New York City are not vaccinated against polio.
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“We’re being invaded. They’re invading our country,” Trump told Breitbart News. “They’re killing people. The crime is up because of the people that are coming in. Not all, but many, and they’re coming in from prisons and mental institutions. These countries are doing it. I had it stopped. I had it totally stopped. If other countries wouldn’t do it, we weren’t going to give them any money. We give a lot of money to these countries. I would have that stopped immediately and we would bring people out. But absolutely, this is an invasion. We have soldiers coming into our country. They’re making people sick. Many of these people are sick with very contagious disease and they’re spreading this all over our country. This is an invasion of our country. It has to stop. So if somebody is talking about military, I certainly wouldn’t rule that out.” » …