President Donald Trump pressed advisors repeatedly about sending US troops to Mexico to hunt down drug cartels, but top aides pushed back on the idea, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
After nine Americans – three women and six children – were killed by cartel gunmen in Mexico, Trump publicly called for a forceful response on social media.
Trump tweeted that “if Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
He added that “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!”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded by saying: “We appreciate and thank very much President Trump and any foreign government that wants to help, but in these cases we have to act with independence.”
Behind the scenes, Trump repeatedly asked his top national-security aides about the possibility of sending US troops into Mexico to hunt drug cartels. In the White House, there were concerns that Trump was considering unilateral action, deploying troops into the country uninvited, The New York Times reported, citing former officials who were present for the discussions.
As The Times reported, the US and Mexico have a history of cooperation on combating cartels, often through joint law-enforcement operations. But what Trump was proposing appeared more like US military operations against terrorists in various countries around the world, such as the US raid into Pakistan to take down Osama bin Laden.
Trump’s senior aides reportedly suggested that any unilateral use of force without the permission of the Mexican government could be perceived by other countries as an act of war, a US invasion of a close ally and major trading partner. Their advice gave Trump pause, and the plan never materialized.
Trump’s interest in sending US troops into Mexico came around the same time that the architect of the administration’s immigration plans, Stephen Miller, was pushing the Department of Homeland Security to send a a quarter-million troops to the southern border, The New York Times reported.
Trump’s secretary of defense, Mark Esper, shut down all consideration of plans for the deployment of 250,000 troops to the border, which was never formally presented to Trump for approval but was discussed in White House immigration meetings, after a short confrontation with Miller.
Source: The New York Times