White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as well as several presidential candidates denounced comments made by drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in an exclusive interview with Sean Penn for Rolling Stone.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Jake Tapper asked McDonough whether the United States would make Penn available to Mexican authorities. McDonough responded that he didn’t want to get ahead of any possible action, but that it “poses a lot of very interesting questions, both for him and for others involved in this … so-called interview.”
“And one thing I will tell you is that this braggadocio’s action about how much heroin he sends around the world, including to the United States, is maddening,” McDonough told Tapper, referring to Guzman. “We see a heroin epidemic, opioid addiction epidemic in this country. So, we’re going to stay on top of this, with our Mexican counterparts, until we get that back in the box. “
McDonough added on ABC’s “This Week” that he was “appalled” by the comments “El Chapo” made in the interview.
Sen. Marco Rubio called the interview “grotesque.”
“If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week” adding that he did not know the actor was “still around.”
In Penn’s article, published in Rolling Stone on Saturday, Guzman touted his drug trade, saying he “supplies more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”
Penn wrote he met Guzman in person in October, a sit-down meeting that started with a warm hug and lasted seven hours.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump also was mentioned in the Rolling Stone article. When Penn mentioned Trump, Guzman smiled and said, “Ah! Mi amigo!”
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders also told ABC’s “This Week” that he was glad Guzman had been captured.
“People like him have done incredible harm to people in our country and to his own country,” he said.