Sen. Kennedy-Mexicans ‘Would Be Eating Cat Food’ If Not For U.S, Mexico Responds

A diplomatic dispute with Mexico erupted this week after Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) called out the country for enabling the fentanyl epidemic and suggested that its citizens would be “eating cat food” without the help of the United States. During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Kennedy grilled DEA Chief Anne Milgram about her agency’s efforts to combat drug trafficking on the Southern border and suggested that the United States use its economic might to force Mexico into dealing with the cartels. Shortly after, the Senator’s comments elicited cries of ‘racism’ from several Mexican officials, including the President and Foreign Minister.

“This is the way the American people whose sons and daughters are dying look at it,” Kennedy told Milgram on Wednesday.

“Our economy is $23 trillion. Mexico’s economy is 1.3 trillion. Ours is 18 times bigger. We buy $400 billion every year from Mexico. Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent behind an Outback.”

“Why hasn’t President Biden done it?” Kennedy asked, suggesting that the United States use its economic strength to force Mexico to take action against the drug trade.

“Why don’t you and the president get on the phone and call President [Andres Manuel] López Obrador and make him a deal he can’t refuse to allow our military and our law enforcement officials to go into Mexico and work with his to stop the cartels.”

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During a Friday press conference, Mexico Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard responded by denying that his country held any responsibility for the fentanyl epidemic and decried Kennedy as a racist over his “cat food” comments.

“What’s the cement behind these ideas, the people who believe in this?” Ebrard said before warning that the Senator’s comments would “spark” a “crisis” between the two trade partners.

“Racism against Mexicans, and against all Spanish-speakers in general.”

During the same press conference, Ebrard also panned the efforts of Congress to restart work on the southwestern border wall and tighten immigration restrictions.

President Obrador called out Kennedy directly and encouraged Americans not to vote for “people with this mentality.”

“Just tell our compatriots in the United States, Mexican compatriots, Latin Americans, Hispanics, and also American friends, that when it comes to voting, don’t vote for candidates like this Senator Kennedy.”

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Fentanyl overdoses in the United States have skyrocketed over the past five years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Between 2016 and 2021, deaths from fentanyl spiked by as much as 279%, from 5.7 per 100,000 to 21.6 per 100,000. According to the DEA, there has been a dramatic shift from a heroin-based drug trade to a fentanyl-based one in recent years.

On Thursday, the DEA arrested 29 people in Iowa as part of a crackdown on cartel activity. Those arrested faced various gun and drug charges and were connected with at least two cartels.

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