On Wednesday, President Trump claimed without evidence that armed Mexican soldiers held U.S. soldiers at gunpoint at the U.S.-Mexico border to allow drug smugglers to cross the border, The Washington Post reports. But his theory is at odds with what the U.S. military says actually happened.
On Twitter, the president threatened Mexico while relaying his version of the story.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border,” the president tweeted, incorrectly calling the soldiers National Guardsmen. “Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”
According to American military officials, Trump’s claim comes after an April 13 incident in which two U.S. soldiers carrying out a Department of Defense mission to implement camera surveillance at the U.S.-Mexico border were detained and disarmed briefly on American soil.
In an email, Navy Captain and U.S. military spokeswoman Pamela Kunze said that about five or six members of the Mexican military approached the U.S. soldiers near Clint, Texas. The soldiers, who were in an unmarked Customs and Border Protection vehicle, answered their questions.
“An inquiry by CBP and DOD revealed that the Mexican military members mistakenly believed the U.S. Army soldiers were south of the border with Mexico,” she wrote. “However, the U.S. soldiers were appropriately in U.S. territory. Though they were south of the border fence, U.S. soldiers remained in U.S. territory, north of the actual border.”
The Mexican soldiers left after “a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations,” she said.
“We believe this brief exchange was a misunderstanding concerning the location of the unmarked U.S. surveillance vehicle and an honest mistake by the Mexican soldiers,” Kunze said. “The Mexican military has been and continues to be a great partner with the United States military.”
In response to Trump’s tweet, Mexican President Andrès Manuel Lòpez Obrador said that he would look into the issue immediately.
“We are going to look into this case, taking into account what’s been said, and providing assurances that we will always act responsibly with the people and government of the United States,” Lòpez Obrador said at a new conference on Wednesday morning.