‘I want to blow them up’: Graham on Mexican drug cartels

(NewsNation) — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Mexico a narco-terrorist state that provides a safe haven for violent cartels. In an interview with “On Balance” host Leland Vittert about the Mexican cartels, the senator said he wants to “blow them up.”

“The blood of America fuels the drug cartels. I want to blow them up. Whatever it takes for as long as it takes. I don’t want to be attacked again,” Graham told Vittert.

The senator’s comments come after four Americans were kidnapped in Mexico last Friday.

At a news conference Wednesday, Graham said drug cartels have been terrorizing America for decades and it was time to “unleash the fury and might of the United States to destroy their business and lifestyle.”

Joined by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., Graham announced a plan to introduce legislation that calls for the Mexican cartels to be designated as foreign terrorist organizations, and authorizes the use of U.S. military force to destroy fentanyl labs.

“Here’s your options: To continue to do nothing or continue to follow policy that fails. Why do we have a military? What’s the whole purpose of having a military? To protect the country,” Graham told Vittert.

Classifying cartels as foreign terrorist organizations is the highest designation you can give a terrorist criminal enterprise.

Graham addressed the Mexican president at his news conference, saying, “You have let your country slide into the hands of narco-terrorists. … You are leaving us with no other choices.”

Graham’s two-part legislation would designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations under U.S. law, which Graham said would to open up the ability of the U.S. to go after them.

“I am tired of being run over by drug cartels in Mexico. I want to change the game. We will kick their ass if we go into it to win it. I want to go into it to win it. The biggest beneficiary, Leland, will be the Mexican people who don’t have to live under fear anymore,” Graham told Vittert.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said designating cartels as foreign terrorist organizations would not grant the White House additional authorities “that we don’t really have at this time.”

Jean-Pierre referenced the sanctions power of the U.S. and pointed to as series of actions the Treasury Department announced against cartels, where drug traffickers will no longer be able to use family or friends to hide their assets from the U.S. government.

Graham said that fentanyl being ferried across the border is what is driving his proposal.

“We are going to destroy their business model,” Graham said of the cartels. “The security of the U.S. depends on this action.”

On Tuesday, Graham was outspoken about the kidnapping of four American citizens in Mexico, saying he would propose new legislation to take action against the cartels following news that the kidnapping turned deadly.

In a Fox News interview, Graham proposed the use of U.S. military force against Mexican drug cartels that are terrorizing Americans and flooding our nation’s streets with deadly fentanyl.

The senator said he would follow former U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s assessment that the federal government should designate “the cartels as terrorist organizations.” Graham also said he would get tough on Mexico, not just for the kidnapping but for the overwhelming amount of illegal drugs crossing over the border.

The four Americans who were kidnapped by gunmen just across the southern border on Friday were traveling to Mexico for a medical procedure, according to several media reports.

The four victims — Latavia Burgess, Shaeed Woodard, Eric Williams and Zindell Brown — were all South Carolina natives.

The two dead — Woodard, 33, and Brown, in his mid-20s — are set to be turned over to U.S. authorities following forensic work at the Matamoros morgue.

On Balance with Leland Vittert

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