(NewsNation) — Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador slammed an idea gaining traction among some Republicans who say the U.S. military force should help wrangle increasingly deadly cartel violence in Mexico.
“We are not going to permit any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less that a foreign government’s armed forces intervene,” López Obrador said.
The push from some lawmakers, like Congressman Dan Crenshaw and Sen. Lindsey Graham, has ramped up after the killing of two Americans who were likely caught in the crossfire of cartel violence last week.
Graham outlined his plan on NewsNation’s “On Balance.”
“(We’re) not talking about an invasion,” Graham said. “Talking about taking down drug labs, going after the leadership, probably a combination of cyber attacks a combination of drone attacks — maybe manned aircraft, maybe Delta Force raids.”
López Obrador falsely denied that some fentanyl is made in Mexico and blamed the growing epidemic on Americans and their demand for drugs.
Overdose deaths remain a leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl specifically have been on the rise.
Illicitly produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Mexican President’s comments put him in the hot seat for his own policies addressing cartels and violence since his 2018 election.
As a populist center-left politician who was once the mayor of Mexico City, López Obrador campaigned on a “Hugs, not bullets” strategy to combat cartels.
He emphasized social programs as a solution, but has been widely criticized as unwilling to take meaningful action against cartels, shutting down almost all counter-narcotics cooperation with the U.S. after he came into office.
Late last year, Mexico’s Congress approved a constitutional reform to allow the country’s armed forces to continue carrying out domestic law enforcement through 2028, the Associated Press reported.
López Obrador has been vocal on his stance that the armed forces as more honest than Mexico’s police. But Polling has shown that Mexicans agree and want the army and navy to continue their law enforcement efforts, according to AP.
NewsNation digital reporter Katie Smith contributed to this report.