President Trump said Thursday that his proposed border wall would help shut down the flow of drugs from Colombia, and rejected Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos's suggestion that "collaborating" would be a better route.
"Today I affirm the United States' willingness to target and eliminate drug finances, coca cultivation and cocaine production of which there is far too much. The drug epidemic is poisoning too many American lives. We're going to stop it. One of the ways will be the wall," Trump said during Thursday's joint press conference at the White House.
When asked for his thoughts, Santos said he believes "collaborating" would be the best way to stop the flow of drugs, and said Colombia is seizing higher quantities of drugs before they are exported.
"This is not a problem of Colombia only or a problem of the United States only. It's a world problem. We have to all work together," he said. "We declared the war on drugs 40 years ago. The world declared a war on drugs. It's a war that has not been won. So we must be more effective and more efficient."
But Trump dismissed that "diplomatic" answer and replied, "Walls work. Just ask Israel."
Colombia, located 2,700 miles from the U.S., saw record-high levels coca cultivation and international distribution. Trump called the illegal drug importation, related drug crimes and addiction the most "important" area for both nations to cooperate on fixing.