Trump Is Ready to Designate Mexican Drug Cartels 'Terrorist Organizations' But Refrains, Claiming Request From Mexican President

President Donald Trump says he's ready to designate Mexican drug cartels "terrorist organizations." The only thing stopping him from doing so is the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

"All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations," Trump tweeted. "Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us, President Andres Manuel @LopezObrador_ we will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!"

Newsweek subscription offers >

If the White House decides to carry through with its plan to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups, it could lead to the U.S. sending troops into Mexico, along with interruptions in both trade and tourism.

Members of a group deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department are not allowed to enter the country. Banks are prohibited from entering into business dealings with the organization or its members.

Former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Ernesto Derbez was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying the designation would mean that businesses in the U.S. "won't want to do business in Mexico for fear that there will be a declaration from the United States that they are doing business with people from the cartel. That will reduce investment and the attraction of Mexico."

Newsweek subscription offers >

In response to Trump's offer to go to war against the cartels, Lopez Obrador dismissed it as "interventionism" and said in a press conference, "Cooperation? Yes. Intervention? No."

"Our problems will be solved by Mexicans," Lopez Obrador said. "We don't want any interference from any foreign country."

donald trump
While President Donald Trump is ready to label Mexican drug cartels as 'terrorist organizations,' the Mexican government has so far rejected Trump's offer to send troops into the country to help curb violence enacted by the cartels. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Trump's tweet comes on the heels of Attorney General William Barr's visit to Mexico City to discuss the violence committed by drug cartels. An official report from the Department of Justice acknowledges the meeting but does not specify if any conclusions were reached.

"Attorney General Barr and Mexican Government counterparts discussed a broad range of issues including their shared commitment to protecting the security and safety of the citizens of both the United States and Mexico from transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) as well as how our countries work together to combat drug, human, and arms trafficking," the report said. "They talked about the importance of targeting illicit financial networks and disrupting the illicit movement of cash, weapons, and drugs, combatting corruption, and strengthening cooperation on bringing members of TCOs to justice."

After the meeting, Lopez Obrador wrote that Barr "understands that our constitution mandates that we adhere to the principles of cooperation for development and nonintervention in foreign policy. This way we will always be able to work together."

As reported by Newsweek in November, Trump began preparation for the designation earlier this year. In an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Trump said, "I'm going to be designating the cartels, absolutely."

"I've been working on that for the last 90 days," Trump continued. "You've got to go through a process and we're well into that process."

Trump Is Ready to Designate Mexican Drug Cartels 'Terrorist Organizations' But Refrains, Claiming Request From Mexican President | World