During an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, President Donald Trump stated that the U.S. government is currently going through the process to officially designate drug cartels in Mexico as terror organizations.
According to The Hill, Trump made the claim after being pressed by O’Reilly on whether or not he’s committed to making such a designation. Trump partially dodged the first question from O’Reilly on the subject, saying that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do but that “they will be designated.”
The president seemed increasingly sure after O’Reilly asked him a second time whether or not he would make the designation, even admitting that his administration has been actively working on it for some time.
“Absolutely,” Trump said.
“I’ve been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we’re well into that process.”
The news, which would have various ramifications for the country of Mexico, elicited a quick response to Trump’s announcement from the Mexican foreign ministry, who said they will work to hold talks with the U.S. Department of State to sort the matter.
“The foreign minister will establish contact with his counterpart, Michael R. Pompeo, in order to discuss this very important issue for the bilateral agenda,” a statement from the ministry read.
Several Republican lawmakers have previously requested that the Trump administration designate drug cartels as terror groups, including Reps. Mark Green and Chip Roy. In a joint letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in February, the two asked for the designation.
Roy, who represents a district in Texas where drug cartel violence often spills over from Mexico, went as far as to also request that the cartels be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
Cartel violence recently dominated news headlines after a U.S. family of 10 was brutally murdered in northern Mexico earlier this month, allegedly as a result of drug cartel violence. At the time, Trump suggested on multiple occasions that the two countries team up to “wage war” on violent, organized crime in Mexico — even going as far as wanting to “wipe them off the face of the earth.”
President @realDonaldTrump tells me he is 90 days into the process of designating Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations - which would give US forces more leverage in taking them out. pic.twitter.com/ewSJMkt6rr— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) November 27, 2019
However, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would later dismiss Trump’s invitation for the tag-team event, essentially saying that “war” was the last thing his country needed to engage in, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.
According to PBS, drug cartel violence in Mexico has drastically changed in recent years. Cartels used to generally leave children unharmed and focused on targeted homicides, but now increasingly target children along with the adults they’re with.