President Trump said Tuesday the U.S. is ready to "wage war" on the drug cartels and "wipe them off the face of the earth" after at least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family were killed in an ambush attack near U.S.-Mexico border.
In a series of tweets, Trump said the U.S. was willing to aid Mexico in "cleaning out these monsters" and that "sometimes you need an army to defeat an army."
"We merely await a call from your great new president!" he said.
Three vehicles traveling between the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua were attacked by the gunmen, CNN reported Tuesday, citing relatives of the victims and statements from Mexican authorities.
The dead included three women and seven children, including two infants, according to a report by the Arizona Republic.
The Republic said the victims were members of La Mora, an offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is located in Sonora about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz.
The deaths of the family of dual U.S.-Mexico citizens, allegedly at the hands of cartel gunmen, opened an international angle to an ongoing internal security crisis in Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's administration.
The offer for the U.S. military to intervene in Mexico's internal affairs — a third rail in Mexican politics — rattled an already-unsettled security apparatus.
Obrador, who was inaugurated in December, responded at his daily press conference that he respects the offer but that "it's not in agreement with our convictions. The worst thing is war."
López Obrador, who made ending the war on drugs one of the pillars of his campaign, has been under increasing internal pressure to ratchet up enforcement against the cartels after widespread violence killed 13 people on Oct. 17 in the northern city of Culiacán.
And López Obrador has butted heads with his own military over a speech by Gen. Carlos Gaytán Ochoa, a senior Army officer, who said soldiers "feel offended" by López Obrador's policies.
López Obrador responded on Twitter, saying his supporters would not permit "another coup d'etat."
Mexico has not had a successful military takeover of power since its 1910–1921 revolution.