Chief of Staff Admits Trump's Border Wall Promises Were "Uninformed"
18 January, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Brenda Erickson
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly went to Capitol Hill Wednesday to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration - and according to lawmakers and sources both in the room and briefed on the meeting - told the group that President Donald Trump's campaign promises on immigration were not fully informed and that the USA would not construct a wall on the border with Mexico "from sea to shining sea".
"Certain things were said during the campaign that are uninformed", Kelly is said to have told her, later adding: "One thing is to campaign, another thing is to govern".
Kelly told the Washington Post that there would not be a wall paid for by Mexico, and White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said last week that Trump had recently learned geographic barriers such as rivers and mountains might obviate the need for a physical wall.
The Postreports that two lawmakers present in the meeting took notes on the meeting, and the newspaper confirmed those notes with two other lawmakers and a senior aide present at the time.
"He has evolved in the way he looks at things", Kelly told the conservative network.
"There's no doubt in my mind there's going to be a deal, so long as men and women on both sides are willing to talk", Kelly told Fox News.
Kelly, who previously served as homeland security secretary and commander of US military forces in Latin America, claimed he has helped President Trump "evolve on issues of the wall".
He said Trump has "very definitely changed his attitude" toward protecting the young immigrants, "and even the wall, once we briefed him".
Kelly expressed confidence that the negotiations to preserve the protections provided by DACA, the acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that Trump moved in September to end, would succeed, though not necessarily this week. And he made similar remarks later on Fox News Channel. I ordered that. I managed that. Mr Trump aligned himself with immigration hardliners last night, rubbishing a proposed compromise spending bill as "very, very weak".
"He has evolved in the way he's looked at things", Kelly said of his boss.
Representative Luis Gutiérrez, a Democrat from IL, who was also at the meeting, quoted Kelly as having told the group that, "a 50-foot (15m) wall from sea to shining sea isn't what we're going to build".
According to the Post, Kelly said the Trump administration is pushing for increased border security because cartels are still managing to sneak their illicit drugs into the U.S.
A bipartisan group of senators is expected to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would pair a fix for the DACA program along with border security.
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