Secretary of Defense James Mattis was asked Wednesday at the Pentagon if the deployment of the military to the southern border was a “political stunt.”
The Pentagon announced this week that more than five thousand members of the armed forces will be deployed to provide reinforcements at the southern U.S. border. The move comes as a response to multiple migrant caravans headed north from Central America through Mexico. One thousands-strong caravan that originated in Honduras is currently traveling through Mexico for the U.S. Another caravan that originated in El Salvador is reportedly armed, clashing with Mexican police.
Mattis took questions from the press during an event welcoming the Minister of National Defense from the Republic of Korea to the Pentagon. The very first question was about the deployment of military to the border. (RELATED: New Images Show Exactly How Massive The Migrant Caravan Is)
“Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you about the deployment of troops on the southern border,” the reporter said. “They’re now more than double the numbers that are actually in the migrant caravans. So is this a political stunt as critics allege?”
Mattis had a blunt response, saying the Pentagon does not “do stunts.”
“Yeah, the support that we provide to the Secretary for Homeland Security is practical support based on the request from the Commissioner of Customs & Border Police,” Mattis said “We don’t do stunts in this department, thank you.”
“We don’t do stunts in this department, thank you,” said DefSec Mattis bluntly, in response to a press question on whether sending troops to the southern border was a political stunt. Mattis said the troops provide “practical support” as requested by @DHSgov and @CBP. pic.twitter.com/68Vfgdyqvz
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 31, 2018
“Is it about deterrence or is this about, you know, actually sending troops, will they arrive on the southern border?” the reporter followed.
“We’re there in support of the Secretary of Homeland Security, who needs additional military assistance,” Mattis confirmed. “We do this following storms, we do this in support of the Department of Homeland Security. This is a different aspect of it, but that’s what we’re doing.”