Florida Governor Ron Desantis said on Wednesday night that he would send the military into Mexico to fight drug cartels on “day one” of his presidency if he wins the 2024 presidential election.
At the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, DeSantis was asked if he would support sending in US special forces to take out fentanyl labs and other drug cartel operations. “Yes, and I will do it on day one,” he replied.
“We have to reestablish the rule of law and we have to defend our people. The president of the United States has got to use all available powers as commander in chief to protect our country,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis claimed cartels are “killing tens of thousands of our fellow citizens” and said he would treat them as “foreign terrorist organizations.”
Taking military action across the border would dramatically expand the decades-old failed war on drugs, but the idea of invading or bombing Mexico in response to the large number of overdoses in the US is becoming increasingly popular among Republicans. Other 2024 hopefuls have called for military action against cartels, including the frontrunner, former President Trump.
Earlier this year, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced a bill to designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, which has a total of six cosponsors. Graham said the purpose of the legislation was to “set the stage” for military intervention in Mexico.
Another bill introduced by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) would authorize the president to use military force against “those responsible for trafficking fentanyl or a fentanyl-related substance into the United States or carrying out other related activities that cause regional destabilization in the Western Hemisphere.” The Crenshaw legislation has received 21 cosponsors.