Trump: Mexico needs help on drug cartels

President Trump says he has discussed aiding Mexico’s fight against local drug cartels with his counterpart, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“We have to do something about the cartels,” Trump said Monday while discussing the relationship with Mexico on Fox News’s “The O’Reilly Factor."

"I did talk to [Nieto] about it. I want to help him with it. I think he’s a very good man. We have a very good relationship, as you probably know.

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“We’ve got to stop the drugs from coming into our country. And if he can’t handle it — maybe they can and maybe they can’t or maybe he needs help — he seemed very willing to get help from us, because he has got a problem and it’s a real problem for us.”

Trump declined further comment when asked if Peña Nieto is open to U.S. forces helping Mexico combat drug cartels.

“I would rather, as a very nice man that he is and somebody I respect, I’d rather have him respond to that,” he told host Bill O’Reilly. "But I will tell you I certainly offered him help on knocking out the drug cartels, because we have got a problem."

“Don’t forget these cartels are operating in our country and they’re poisoning the youth of our country. And, by the way, countries all over the world, just so you understand — this is a cartel all over the world, the cartels. But I certainly would help him if he needed help.”

Trump added that he respects Peña Nieto’s administration but said, “They have problems controlling aspects of their country, no question about it.”

“And I would say the drugs and the drug cartels, number one,” he said. "Well, it’s a country that’s got difficulty.”

The U.S. and Mexico denied reports last week that Trump told Peña Nieto U.S. forces would handle the “bad hombres down there” if Mexican authorities could not.

“Reports that the president threatened to invade Mexico are false,” a White House official said on Feb 1. "Even the Mexican government is denying these reports.”

“The assertions that you make about said conversation do not correspond to the reality of it,” Mexico’s foreign relations department said in a statement, adding that the conversation between the leaders was “constructive.”

The Associated Press first reported Trump’s talk with Peña Nieto last week, citing an excerpt of a transcript from a Jan. 27 phone call.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Peña Nieto, per the report. "You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down there to take care of it."