Trump Contradicts Top Aide, Says Border Wall Stance Has Not 'Evolved'

Posted January 19, 2018

And in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday night, Kelly didn't deny saying those things. Kelly reportedly told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that Trump's immigration policies on the campaign trail were "uninformed" and a truly border-length wall was unrealistic.

According to a moment-by-moment report of the contentious White House meeting over immigration reform, the Washington Post is reporting that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had President Donald Trump's ear and convinced him to scuttle a bipartisan deal on DACA.

In his first Mexico-related tweet of the day, Trump wrote, "The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it".

As the immigration debate has heated up, Trump tasked Kelly with spearheading talks on the issue in the hopes of striking a deal that would adhere to his campaign promises.

"Our country will not pay for a wall or physical barrier, in any way and under any circumstances", it said in the first point, adding that "it's not a Mexican negotiation strategy but a principle of sovereignty and national dignity".

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"The $20 billion dollar Wall is "peanuts" compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!" he said, reasserting his position on the trade pact which is now being renegotiated.

Democrats want the bill to include protections for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children, known as "Dreamers".

Kelly's supporters say he is merely ensuring the President is hearing from a full scope of voices as he weighs various proposals on an issue that was central to his rollicking presidential campaign.

Kelly met on Wednesday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, followed by four moderate Republicans, followed by two leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and then went to meet with the bipartisan congressional No. 2's who are attempting to negotiate a deal. According to the newspaper, Kelly said Trump had pledged his "big, lovely wall" before becoming "fully informed" of the natural barriers that already lie along the USA border with Mexico. "There [are] other places we think about 800 miles [of] additional wall to include the 600 that's already in place...would suffice".

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said there's "very, very strong" sentiment among Democrats in the chamber to oppose GOP-drafted legislation to keep the government's doors open.

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The U.S. -Mexico border is 1,989 miles long, but much of it consists of rivers and other natural barriers.

Later, the White House expressed support for the short-term spending bill, unveiled late Tuesday by House GOP leadership, and congressional liaison Marc Short said he was optimistic that it would pass. He said it was more likely that the United States would recoup the money from visa fees and renegotiation the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Kelly said, "He has evolved in the way he's looked at things". Trump's rejection angered the bargainers, and partisan feelings worsened after participants in a White House meeting last week said Trump had referred to African nations as "shitholes". Unlike his relationships with those men, which appear permanently frayed, Trump has previously told confidants he can't afford to lose Kelly.

"Campaigning is very different from governing", Kelly added.

The report states that Kelly was briefed on the proposed bipartisan deal before the meeting and spoke with president before he sat down with Sen. "We do that, and I'll probably hold my nose", said Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who voted against the previous continuing resolution.

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Democrats' votes are needed to advance the stopgap measure through the Senate.