The decade's most triggering comedy
Ohio Republican Senator J.D. Vance said Sunday he would “empower” the president to use military force to combat Mexican drug cartels as he warned about the increasing power of the criminal groups.
During an appearance on NBC News’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, Vance told host Chuck Todd that “real American leadership” is needed to combat the fentanyl crisis that’s originating outside American borders. Vance said the growing influence of drug cartels is concerning and that the U.S. must take action.
“I want to empower the president of the United States, whether that’s a Democrat or Republican, to use the power of the U.S. military to go after these drug cartels,” Vance said. “Here’s the real problem with Mexico, and it’s sort of two-fold: On the one hand, you have the cartels which are arguably the best-funded criminal terrorist organization in the entire world.”
“The second thing, Chuck, is we have to recognize the Mexican government is being in a lot of ways destabilized by the constant flow of fentanyl,” Vance added.
WATCH: Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance (R) would “empower” a president to use the U.S. military to go after drug cartels.@JDVance1: “You think the fentanyl problem is bad now, what about three years from now when the Mexican drug cartels are more powerful than the Mexican state itself?” pic.twitter.com/rhDWzhJIZ1
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 2, 2023
Vance told Todd that three years from now, the drug cartels could be more powerful than the Mexican state itself, comparing the situation to what happened in Colombia when the cartels became too dominant. He said he has spoken with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who have told him that drug cartels’ revenue has increased “fourteen-fold” in the last couple of years, saying that’s a result of “bad border policies.”
The Ohio senator conceded the U.S. would be “hamstrung” if leaders assume “good faith” from China and Mexico — the two primary sources of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances entering the U.S., according to the DEA — but said real progress is achievable. As for China, Vance said the United States must begin to exert economic pressure on the communist nation.
“The Chinese export a ton to the American markets, they absolutely need the American consumer to be able to run their businesses,” Vance said. “We should be willing to say that if you don’t stop sending fentanyl precursors to Mexico and to our own ports of entry, we’re going to really penalize you guys economically.”
Vance said the Biden administration should exert economic pressure through increasing tariffs to “extract a massive economic cost.”
Accidental overdose deaths in Ohio have increased by 1,056% since 1999, from 467 to 5,397 in 2021, according to data from the CDC reported by the “Meet The Press.” Eighty percent of those deaths involved opioids, making Ohio fifth in the nation for overdose deaths. From 2019 to 2020, overdose deaths in the U.S. increased by 31%. Fentanyl is behind the majority of overdose deaths, with roughly 150 people dying every day, NBC News reports.
According to the DEA, the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are the two primary groups responsible for fentanyl and methamphetamine overdose deaths of Americans. In an early May press release, the federal organization said its “top operational priority” is to defeat the two groups.
Many Republicans have argued that using military force to defeat the cartels is imperative. Former President Donald Trump has mentioned using “special forces” and “cyber warfare” to combat the leaders of the groups, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has endorsed the use of “deadly force” against drug traffickers.