April 19 (UPI) — President Donald Trump went to Key West on Thursday to meet with a task force for a briefing about federal efforts to stop illegal drug trafficking.
Trump, who has pushed for rigid security along U.S. borders since his presidential campaign, visited with the Joint Interagency Task Force-South based at the Naval Air Station in Key West. The task force is made of several U.S. agencies and an international coalition coordinating illegal drug interdiction efforts.
“The Joint Interagency Task Force South’s efforts to dismantle the illicit drug trade has saved countless American lives,” a White House statement said. “In the face of record drug production … Joint Interagency Task Force South supported the removal of a record 283 metric tons of cocaine and 5 kilograms of heroin, and the detention of 900 suspected members of drug trafficking organizations.”
Trump thanked U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her efforts.
“It is a very tough situation. You look at the thousands and thousands of people that are going in 15 different directions from different countries, using the Pacific, using the Caribbean, using everything they can use to get through,” Trump said after the briefing. “But you have done, really, an incredible job.”
He also used the occasion to thank all military leaders and rally support for the Mexican border wall.
“Drugs are flowing into our country. We need border protection; we need the wall. We have to have the wall,” Trump said.
The visit came on the heels of California Gov. Jerry Brown announcing he would order 400 National Guard troops to the U.S. Mexican border. Trump has since called it a “charade,” because the governor said the troops would only be used to stop crime, not immigration enforcement.
“Governor Jerry Brown announced he will deploy “up to 400 National Guard Troops” to do nothing,” Trump tweeted. “The crime rate in California is high enough, and the Federal Government will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade. We need border security and action, not words!”
Trump further slammed California and Democrats at the task force meeting.
“The Democrats don’t want to approve a wall because they think it’s good politically, but it’s not. Looking at what’s happening in California with sanctuary cities where the people are really going the opposite way. They don’t want sanctuary cities. And there’s a little bit of a revolution going on in California.”