Last night’s White House press briefing took an unexpected detour as America was briefed on a new military operation against drug cartels hoping to exploit the COVID-19 lockdown.
President Donald Trump made the announcement saying,
“Today the United States is launching enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western hemisphere to protect the American people from the deadly scourge of illegal narcotics. We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives.”
The Commander-in-Chief said the U.S. military will double its assets in the Caribbean and as it works with twenty-two partner nations in an offensive against “malign actors” who would take advantage of the emergency situation.
General Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, expanded on the President’s comments saying,
“At a time when the Nation and the Department of Defense are focused on protecting the American people from the spread of the coronavirus, we also remain vigilant to the many other threats our country faces. Today, at the President’s direction, the Dept. of Defense, at close cooperation with our inter-agency partners, began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.”
General Mike Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a stern warning to America’s potential adversaries saying,
“We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we are at war with the drug cartels as well. But this is the United States military, you will not penetrate this country… we will marshall whatever assets are required to prevent your entrance into this country.”
The operation comes just days after two major actions: the United States indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on drug charges and federal agents uncovered an underground tunnel near the southern border, confiscating over 600,000 pounds of cocaine, meth, and fentanyl.
Also joining the President for the press briefing were U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday, Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz, and National Security Adviser Robert O’brien.