Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that if he were to be elected president, he would consider employing drone strikes as a method to combat Mexican drug cartels.
“We will absolutely reserve the right if they’re invading our country and killing our people,” DeSantis said in response to a voter's question about whether he would be willing to employ drones against the cartels.
Asked later to clarify, DeSantis said: “I said I would use whatever force we need to defend the country," NBC News reports.
“We’d be willing to lean in against them, and we reserve the right to defend our country,” he added.
DeSantis has been emphasizing immigration as a significant theme in his presidential campaign.
In June, he publicly supported the use of "deadly force" against migrants suspected of drug trafficking. DeSantis reiterated this stance on Thursday, speaking to a crowd of over 150 voters in a crowded restaurant.“We’re authorizing deadly force. They try to break into our country? They will end up stone-cold dead,” he stated.
“Same way a police officer would know,” he said. “Same way somebody operating in Iraq would know. You know, these people in Iraq at the time, they all looked the same. You didn’t know who had a bomb strapped to them. So those guys have to make judgments.”
In May, DeSantis approved the deployment of 1,100 members of Florida's law enforcement agencies and the National Guard to the southern border. Even before announcing his presidential run, he arranged for migrants to be flown from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts — an action he often boasts about while on the campaign trail.
“We banned sanctuary cities, we sent support to Texas to help secure the border, and we even helped transport illegal aliens to beautiful Martha’s Vineyard,” DeSantis stated Thursday.