Amid persistent rumors that fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has put a $100 million bounty for the death or capture of Donald Trump, a former New York City Police Department commissioner is warning the Republican presidential candidate to not take the purported threat lightly.
"Any time you're threatened by anyone, it's a reason for concern," Bernard Kerik told Newsmax. "This guy is a known killer. (…) He's involved in one of the largest drug cartels in the world," he added.
Trump earned the ire of Guzmán over the summer, while he was still in prison, when the real estate mogul and candidate made his now infamous remarks about Mexican immigrants – he said during his campaign speech that Mexico sends its criminals and "rapists" to the U.S.
An unnamed inmate told teleSUR he witnessed Chapo’s angry reaction.
"He was mad. He wants Donald Trump dead and will pay any amount of money to have Donald Trump's head," he told the Latin American television network.
Kerik, who headed the NYPD from 2000 to late 2001, said that Trump should be worried about Guzmán, but to not let the bounty or the threat of violence affect his presidential campaign.
Kerik added: "The amount of money he has access to or could put together for some kind of reward or bounty is enormous really, and it's something that they should be concerned with … With all this chatter, it's something that we should and Donald Trump should be actually concerned with."
The alleged bounty, which is open to anyone who brings Trump to Guzmán "dead or alive," has been making the rounds around the Internet over the last week, with various sources citing an unnamed prison inmate with apparent close ties to the drug cartel boss. Trump's campaign would not comment on the rumors. The Drug Enforcement Administration would also not comment on whether there was an actual threat by El Chapo.
The Trump-Chapo feud took off after the candidate’s explosive comments in a Twitter account called @Elchap0guzman. The tweet in Spanish read, "Keep f---ing around, and I’ll make you swallow all your words," along with more colorful language. It ended with Trump’s official Twitter handle (@realDonaldTrump).
Trump responded with a tweet of his own, saying "I told you so!"
A Trump employee told the Gossip Cop website, which was the first to break the threat news, "This is no joke," noting that the staff of the real estate mogul and television personality had been in touch with the FBI and that the threat is being taken "quite seriously."
Trump has sought to reassure his supporters that he has security watching him for any threats, a claim backed up by Kerik in his recent interview.
"He has an extensive security team around him, highly qualified — and they're going to make sure that he gets through this campaign and does what he has to do, but there's still a need for concern always," Kerik said.