President Biden on Friday said that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been asking him to stop the U.S. from sending guns to Mexico — even as the U.S. is tackling a massive fentanyl crisis that has primarily come into the country from its southern neighbor.
“You know what I get when we’re talking about the fentanyl at the border and all that,” Biden said at a speech at the Safer Communities Summit in West Hartford, Connecticut.
“I speak to the president of Mexico: ’Will you stop sending guns to us?’” he said. “We are sending dangerous weapons, particularly assault weapons, to Mexico. To Mexico. They’re asking us, ‘Please stop it. Cut it off at the border.’”
The flow of guns into Mexico from the U.S. has been a major issue between the two countries for years, with guns used in cartel violence and other crimes in Mexico often found to have originated in the U.S.
The illicit narcotic is primarily produced in Mexican drug labs using Chinese precursors. Yet, despite it leading to massive numbers of death in the U.S., López Obrador has sometimes been dismissive of the problem, or sought to blame the U.S. for his country’s failure to control the cartels.
“Here, we do not produce fentanyl, and we do not have consumption of fentanyl,” López Obrador said in March. “Why don’t they [the U.S.] take care of their problem of social decay?”
He has also responded aggressively to Republicans who have suggested taking out drug labs in Mexico, promising an “information campaign” to encourage Hispanics in the U.S. not to vote for Republicans.
López Obrador has also written to Chinese President Xi Jinping in an effort to help stop the flow of precursors into Mexico — but again used that move to swipe at the U.S.