Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did not rule out launching missiles into Mexico to take out drug cartels on Wednesday, saying it would depend on the situation.
DeSantis made the statement during a Wednesday evening appearance on CBS, telling host Norah O’Donnell that “deadly force is authorized.” The statement lines up with the 2024 Republican presidential candidate’s previous hardline stances on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Would you commit U.S. troops to taking out these Mexican cartels?” O’Donnell asked.
“We are going to lean in, and we are going to defend our country,” DeSantis said before describing cartel members who cross the border with backpacks full of fentanyl, which kills tens of thousands of Americans a year.
“In those situations, yes, we will have deadly force authorized,” he added.
“Would you send missiles into Mexico?” O’Donnell then asked.
“We would use all available – the tactics, I think, can be debated,” he answered. “If you have something you want to accomplish, people would brief you on the different ways to be able to do it, so that would be dependent on the situation.”
“The reality is they are overrunning our border,” he continued. “They’re sex trafficking, they’re human trafficking, and they’re bringing in massive quantities of drugs. Our country is being invaded and hurt by what they’re doing.”
DeSantis previously affirmed the use of military force at the border in early August at the Iowa State Fair. A voter asked DeSantis whether he would be willing to use drones against the cartels.
“Yes, I’ve already said that we will,” DeSantis answered. “We will lean in against the drug cartels. We will absolutely reserve a right — if they’re invading our country and killing our people — we have a right to defend this country.”
Mexican authorities have strongly pushed back against calls for further U.S. military action. In 2019, when then-President Trump suggested that Mexican drug cartels should be designated as terrorist organizations, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for “cooperation” to deal with the cartels, not “interventionism.”
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.