Trump referenced Obama’s order during his February press conference announcing his decision to declare a national emergency:
By signing the national emergency, something signed many times by other presidents, many, many times—President Obama, in fact—we may be using one of the national emergencies that he signed having to do with cartels, criminal cartels. It’s a very good emergency that he signed. And we’re going to use parts of it on our dealings on cartels. So that would be a second national emergency. But in that case it’s already in place. And what we really want to do is simple. It’s not like it is complicated. It’s very simple.
Trump’s new executive order toughens Obama’s order by updating the definition of a “significant transnational criminal organization”
Obama’s order branded any group of persons that “engages in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity involving the jurisdictions of at least two foreign states,” allowing the United States to block property of transnational criminal organizations.
Trump updated the definition to apply to a group, “involving the jurisdictions of at least two foreign states, or one foreign state and the United States.”
Trump proposed further actions against the Mexican cartels in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News — even describing them as terrorist organizations.
“It’s psychological, but it’s also economic,” Trump said. “As terrorists — as terrorist organizations, the answer is yes. They are.”