President Trump on Wednesday likened Democrat-led cities to “war zones,” while hinting federal intervention could be coming.
The president’s comments came during a briefing from the Justice Department on the progress of law enforcement agencies' efforts to “dismantle, defeat and destroy” MS-13 in the United States.
The president was joined Wednesday by his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Attorney General William Barr, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence.
Last year, Barr created “Joint Task Force Vulcan” to lead the Justice Department and U.S. law enforcement agencies in their efforts to “destroy” MS-13.
The creation of the task force came after the president, in February 2017, signed an executive order to direct a “whole-of-government” approach to dismantle transnational criminal organizations and “restore safety in American communities.” By October 2017, the DOJ designated MS-13 as a priority for its Organized Drug Enforcement Task Forces.