Biden White House Accuses Republicans of Wanting to Help the Cartels Bring in Fentanyl

Ahead of a re-election bid that will likely see crime and border security as two key issues, the Biden White House is attempting to position itself as tougher on both than the Republican Party, by accusing the GOP of giving aid to Mexican drug cartels by attacking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.


White House spokesperson Andrew Bates was one of the first to roll this narrative out in a statement he gave to NBC News, attacking Senate Republicans who have blocked previous nominees from getting the top job at the ATF, and Republicans in general for attacking federal law enforcement.

Via NBC News:

“MAGA Republican extremism in Congress is a growing threat to the fight against violent crime and fentanyl trafficking. President Biden is working hard to prevent the flow of firearms into the hands of drug cartels, as part of a comprehensive strategy to block the flow of fentanyl into the United States. But hardcore MAGA members of Congress are doing everything they can to thwart these efforts,” Bates said.

Researchers and government officials from both sides of the border have long tried to stop the so-called Iron Pipeline of U.S. guns, often assault-style rifles, that are smuggled into Mexico, where firearms are difficult to purchase legally. U.S. government estimates have found that as many as 70% of guns recovered by Mexican law enforcement agencies originate in the U.S.

“MAGA Republicans in Congress are trying to defund and abolish the ATF, the federal law enforcement agency responsible for helping stop the flow of firearms into the hands of gun traffickers,” Bates said, adding that “assault weapons purchased in the United States are arming drug cartels and enabling them to outgun law enforcement.”

Curbing the fentanyl epidemic was a 2020 campaign promise of Biden’s, but problems securing the border have made it difficult to stem the flow of the drug onto American streets. The Biden administration has faced heavy criticism from Republicans for creating a de facto open border through a lack of security.


At the same time, Republicans have repeatedly blocked potential ATF directors from getting the job due to their previous stances supporting gun control measures. The ATF currently backs rules that Republicans say have turned millions of Americans into felons overnight.

Republican House members Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene have backed legislation to defund the ATF because of its policies.

But the connection between the ATF and the fentanyl crisis is less clear than the White House is making it out to be. Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration are the agencies that are/should be dealing with such crises at the border. The ATF’s role is, at best, tangential in pursuing the guns cartels use to defend transports and commit their crimes.

The White House, however, is trying to take the offensive from a very defensive position on crime and fentanyl. The crisis has continued to grow worse in the U.S.—with seemingly no end in sight.


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