Rubio defends US aid to Honduras and Guatemala: 'Helps us more than them'

Rubio defends US aid to Honduras and Guatemala: 'Helps us more than them'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Rubio's pragmatic thinking on China MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday pushed back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE's threat to cut off aid to Honduras and Guatemala over the caravan of migrants approaching the U.S. border.

"I understand instinct to cut U.S. aid to punish countries for failing to stop illegal migration. But our aid to #Honduras & #Guatemala isn’t cash," Rubio wrote on Twitter. "It’s primarily equipment & training to stop drugs headed to U.S. & to deal with the gangs causing people to leave those countries."

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"Our aid to #Honduras & #Guatemala isn’t charity. It helps us more than them," he also said. "By seizing drugs before they enter U.S. & kill Americans."

He added that the money also goes towards border security because "it helps fight the gangs that are terrorizing the people who ultimately wind up on our border."

Rubio explained that he agrees the U.S. should be "firm" on the approaching caravan of migrants, but also called on the U.S. to be "smart."

"If we end training & equipment to #Honduras & #Guatemala, it will become easier to ship drugs here," he wrote. "And it will empower MS13 & other dangerous gangs to continue to terrorize people, who will then eventually leave & come illegally."

President Trump tweeted Monday that the U.S. would cut aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, accusing the countries of not "stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S."

Trump in recent days has seized on the group of thousands of Central American migrants making their way toward the U.S. border to stoke fear about the potential influx of illegal immigration, reigniting a hot-button campaign issue with the Nov. 6 midterm elections just two weeks away

"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S," Trump tweeted. "We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them."