Trump Wants More ‘Armed Soldiers’ on Border After Mexico Mix-Up

Alyza Sebenius and Travis Tritten
Trump Wants More ‘Armed Soldiers’ on Border After Mexico Mix-Up

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said that he plans to send “armed soldiers” to the southern U.S. border, once again blasting Mexico for “not doing nearly enough” to apprehend migrants.

“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border,” he wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. “Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”

The April 13 incident actually involved Mexican soldiers briefly confronting U.S. counterparts in Texas, with the Mexican soldiers believing that they were on their own soil, according to accounts from the Pentagon and Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was conciliatory after being told of Trump’s tweets on Wednesday.

"We are going to review the case, take into account what he is pointing out and assure him that we will always have a responsible attitude and respect for the government and people of the United States," Lopez Obrador said during his daily press conference.

Boundaries ‘Not Clear’

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “a group of Mexican soldiers came across two U.S. soldiers who were performing support operations in an unidentified vehicle located south of the border fence” in “an area where the border boundaries are not clear.” After an investigation, the ministry suggested, the vehicle was moved to the north to avoid confusion.

Navy Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for U.S. Northern Command, said in statement that about six Mexican troops questioned two U.S. soldiers providing border support in an unmarked Customs and Border Protection vehicle near Clint, Texas.

“After a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations, the Mexican military members departed the area,” Kunze said. She said that even though “they were south of the border fence, U.S. soldiers remained in U.S. territory, north of the actual border.”

The Defense Department has declined to say how many of its troops at the border are armed but has indicated that number is under continuing review.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump reiterated a threat to close a section of the border, writing in a tweet that he would do so and send in the military if Mexico did not apprehend migrants. Trump backed away from a threat to close the border last month.

"A very big Caravan of over 20,000 people started up through Mexico. It has been reduced in size by Mexico but is still coming," Trump said. "Mexico must apprehend the remainder or we will be forced to close that section of the Border & call up the Military."

--With assistance from Cyntia Barrera Diaz.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alyza Sebenius (Bloomberg News) in Washington at asebenius@bloomberg.net;Travis Tritten (Bloomberg Government) in Washington at ttritten@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Larry Liebert, Jonathan Nicholson

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