Mexicans “would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent behind an Outback” Steakhouse restaurant if it were not for their nation’s proximity to the US, and their country should be invaded because of the presence of drug cartels there, the US senator John Neely Kennedy has said.
The Louisiana Republican’s racist remarks drew a strong condemnation from Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, who called Kennedy “a profoundly ignorant man”. Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, meanwhile, urged the 37 million Americans of Mexican descent – along with other Latinos in the US – “not to vote for people with this very arrogant, very offensive and very foolish mentality” in the future.
Kennedy’s rant came on Wednesday during a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing that in part focused on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s budget. Kennedy told the DEA administrator, Anne Milgram, that she and other members of the Biden White House should pressure López Obrador to let US military and law enforcement officials storm into his country “and stop the cartels”.
“Make him a deal he can’t refuse,” Kennedy said, an apparent allusion to the famous line from the classic mobster film The Godfather. Kennedy also said: “Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent behind an Outback.”
Kennedy’s comments about the US’s neighbor to the south built on prior Republican statements exalting the idea of using the American military to crack down on Mexican cartels. Mexican cartels press most illegal fentanyl into counterfeit pills which are designed to look like Xanax, oxycodone, Percocet and other prescription medications, or they mix it into other drugs, including cocaine and heroin.
Many of the 70,000 overdose deaths registered in the US annually involve people who took fentanyl without knowing it.
In a response on Thursday to Kennedy, Ebrard said numerous Mexican government officials and citizens have died in the name of stopping fentanyl from crossing into the US. “He doesn’t know that or pretends like he doesn’t,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard added that Kennedy should contemplate why people in the US can obtain fentanyl simply by going out to certain streets or logging on to certain websites online. “It’s a fallacy to argue in favor of sending an armed force to Mexico when in the United States you have fentanyl circulating everywhere,” said Ebrard, who has previously noted that it is mostly Americans who are arrested for trafficking fentanyl in the US.
Kennedy delivered his tirade against Mexico in a southern American accent that many of his detractors have likened to the voice of Looney Tunes character Foghorn Leghorn. As the Louisiana politics and culture news outlet Gambit reported, it is widely believed that Kennedy maintains the drawl to come off as folksy, despite his holding degrees from Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia and Oxford University in the UK.
skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotion
He is also one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, where Democrats and independents who caucus with them hold a two-seat majority after last year’s midterm elections. Open Secrets estimated that Kennedy’s net worth was more than $12m in 2016, when the former longtime treasurer of Louisiana’s state government first won his Senate seat.
Kennedy began his political career as a Democrat before switching his party affiliation to Republican in 2007. » …