DeSantis: I’ll Direct U.S. Military To Kill Cartel Operatives Trying To Break Through Border Wall
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 08: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives a victory speech after defeating Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during his election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on November 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. DeSantis was the projected winner by a double-digit lead.
Octavio Jones / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said in an interview this week that if he is elected as the next President of the United States, he will direct the military to shoot cartel operatives trying to break through the border wall on the southern border.

DeSantis’ comments, which were given during an interview with CBS News host Norah O’Donnell on “CBS Evening News,” come after he said at the first Republican Party presidential primary debate that he would send U.S. special forces into Mexico to kill off the cartels.

“We are going to lean in and we are going to defend our country,” DeSantis said during the interview as he recalled seeing engineers having to repair sections of the border wall in Arizona where the cartels had cut through sections of the steel beams.

DeSantis said that in situations where cartel operatives are observed trying to destroy sections of the border wall, the military will be authorized to use deadly force to stop it.

DeSantis said that protocols would have to be established to determine rules of engagement for when the military can exercise force.

“If there’s a woman with a baby, they’re not a cartel member, there’s not going to be authorization to just shoot somebody like that,” DeSantis said. “But when somebody’s got a backpack on and they’re in there breaking through the wall, you know, that’s hostile intent, and you have every right to take action under those circumstances.”

DeSantis said that it would likely only take a couple of instances of that happening before the cartels are forced to change tactics.


The Florida governor said that the specific tactics the military would use inside of Mexico to go after the cartels “can be debated” and would likely require flexibility in how assets are deployed.

“The reality is, they are overrunning our border, they’re sex trafficking, they’re human trafficking and they’re bringing in massive quantities of drugs,” he said. “I mean, our country is being invaded and hurt by what they’re doing. And the question is, do we just throw up our hands? And do we say there’s nothing we can do about it? Or does the leader take action? Because I’ll tell you this, I’m going to have the military at the border, 100%. I mean, if they’re trying to break through the wall, we will have deadly force authorized to be able to stop that.”


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