Murder in Mexico
There are conflicting reports, but it appears that at least nine members of an American family were murdered by Mexican drug-cartel thugs. They are members of a Mormon community in Mexico who were ambushed as they were traveling to pick up a relative.
Some reports suggest that their convoy of SUVs may have been mistaken for a rival gang. Regardless, three women and six children were brutally murdered in an attack that took place about 100 miles from the Arizona border.
This is a horrible, evil act. Nonetheless, out of this brutality there may be a teachable moment.
President Trump has been warning for years about the dangers of our unsecured southern border. He was mocked by the media, by progressive politicians, by liberal judges, and by radical special-interest groups.
But the president has persistently cited the nefarious activities of brutal gangs and drug cartels as reason enough for securing the border and knowing who is entering the country.
We know the gangs and cartels are engaged in child trafficking, drug trafficking, and human smuggling. Yet every attempt by the president to get the situation under control has been blocked by the left.
Progressives and Never-Trumpers routinely try to embarrass Trump by saying, “Look, he’s not getting the wall built.” That’s because they have been fighting tooth and nail to stop him!
Mexican politicians are afraid to speak out against the cartels because scores have been assassinated. Reporters are afraid to expose the cartels too. At least a dozen journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far this year.
Just a few weeks ago, the Mexican military had an engagement against one of the cartels. The “Federales” lost.
Mexico’s murder rate set a record last year with more than 33,300 people killed.
The likelihood of Mexico becoming a failed state, overrun by drug lords and unable or unwilling at some point to stop the flow of mass migration, presents a much greater danger to the United States than anything that is happening on the border of Turkey and Syria.
In a series of tweets yesterday, President Trump denounced the murders of these American citizens and urged Mexico to step up its fight against the cartels, declaring, “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”
Defending Religious Freedom
Six commissioners on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom went to the White House on Monday to meet with top foreign-policy officials. It was a great opportunity for a serious discussion about the challenges facing religious freedom around the world.
I took the opportunity to thank the administration for everything it has done, such as:
Destroying the ISIS caliphate.
Taking out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Elevating religious-liberty concerns in our foreign policy.
Hosting two ministerial summits promoting religious freedom around the world.
The president’s UN address on religious freedom.
Confronting China for its gross abuses of religious liberty.
We also had a serious conversation regarding conditions in Syria. Here’s the reality: Russia is there. Turkey is there. The Syrian army is there. The Iranians are there. Hezbollah is there. The Kurds are there. Our small presence, one to two thousand troops, isn’t going to be the decisive factor in the future of Syria.
Unfortunately, Syria is a failed state, and Christian minorities are caught in the crossfire. But contrary to the media narrative, the Trump administration is working hard to limit the suffering of religious minorities in Syria. The president is in regular contact with Kurdish leaders. USAID is attempting to channel resources to the right entities.
In recent days, I have met with representatives of the Syrian Christian community here in the United States. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers, as do the president and vice president, as they attempt to navigate this very challenging situation.
Mayhem in the Middle East
The chaos in the Middle East is not limited to Syria. And while it is easy to overlook amid the churning domestic scene here at home, there are big developments taking place in Iraq and Lebanon.
Massive protests against corruption have erupted in both countries, threatening Tehran’s grip on the region. The Iranian consulate in Karbala was attacked. The Iraqi flag was posted on the compound’s walls. In Baghdad, protestors have destroyed posters of Iranian leaders. In southern Iraq, a Shiite militia leader (backed by Iran) was pulled from an ambulance and killed in the street.
In Lebanon, the prime minister has been forced to resign and there are growing protests against Hezbollah.
Instability in the Middle East is rarely a good thing. But in this case, I find it encouraging that the people of Iraq and Lebanon are rising up against their Iranian occupiers.
There are historical tensions between Arabs and Persians, and Iran’s influence in the Middle East is anything but benign. The ayatollah’s regime has earned its designation as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Everywhere Tehran extends its tentacles, death and destruction follow.
I was really ticked off last week when Swamp denizens made a spectacle of themselves when they booed the president at Game 5 of the World Series. Thankfully, the players managed to muster the decorum and respect that many fans lacked.
Monday, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted the Washington Nationals at the White House. While seven players did not attend, only one announced ahead of time that he wasn’t going. Overall, it was a wonderful event.
Some players appeared to express their support for the president. Catcher Kurt Suzuki donned a MAGA hat. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman presented the president with a “Trump 45” Nationals jersey and thanked him for keeping the country safe and making it “the greatest country in the world."
Leftists and some media claimed that pitcher Stephen Strasburg snubbed the president by refusing to shake his hand. Strasburg later tweeted that the report of the snub was "Fake News.” He did shake hands with the president but the video was edited to not show it.
Sadly, many Nationals fans are threatening to boycott the team now. Maybe the Washington Nationals should consider trading some of their fans rather than players in the offseason.