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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador flatly rejected President Donald Trump’s offer to “wage war” on drug cartels following the massacre of a U.S.-Mexican family along the border.
During a Tuesday press conference, López Obrador rejected Trump’s public offer to send U.S. military forces to Mexico and help his government combat organized crime. The leftist president — reiterating a position he’s long held — argued that war with the drug cartels was not the best approach.
“We have to act independently and according to our constitution, and in line with our tradition of independence and sovereignty,” López Obrador said Tuesday. “War is irrational. We are for peace. It is a characteristic of this new government.”
The statements came a day after at least nine members of Mormon family, all of whom were dual U.S.-Mexican citizens, were killed in a gruesome ambush while traveling near the border.
Members of the LeBaron family were traveling in three separate vehicles between the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora Monday when they were shot at by individuals suspecting of belonging to a drug cartel. Surviving members recounted a horrific scene: victims burning alive in a flaming vehicle and one child gunned down while trying to run away. Of the nine who were killed, three were women, four were children and two were infants.
It’s believed that the assailants mistook the family for a rival cartel.
“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,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “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.”
López Obrador’s subsequent statements suggest that no such joint military effort will take place. However, the two presidents did speak to each other Tuesday about the massacre.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to discuss the recent violence in Mexico and efforts to combat the growing violent behavior of cartels and criminal groups in the region,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“President Trump made clear that the United States condemns these senseless acts of violence that took the lives of nine American citizens and offered Mexico assistance to ensure the perpetrators face justice. The two leaders also discussed ongoing border cooperation and the strong bilateral ties between the United States and Mexico,” Gidley continued.
Trump has considered classifying drug cartels as terrorist organizations, a move that give his admiration the authority to combat them militarily.