‘The wall is the wall’: Trump blasts Kelly’s claims of Mexico border rollback
US President Donald Trump has strongly reasserted his commitment to building a wall along the Mexican border after White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he had changed his mind on one of his main campaign pledges.
Speaking to Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday, Kelly said Trump was not “fully informed” about the situation when he pledged to build the wall along the 2,200 mile (3,550km) border.
The promise to build the wall, and have Mexico pay for it, was one of the central planks of Trump’s campaign – yet no major movement has been made on the project in the year since Trump’s inauguration.
In a later interview with Fox News, Kelly, who was previously secretary of Homeland Security, said Trump “has evolved in the way he has looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of the realm of what is possible.”
Kelly also discussed the project from an engineering standpoint saying there are places where “hydrographically, geographically, a wall would not be realistic,” he added that in other areas the existing fence “would suffice.”
The president launched a strong rejection of Kelly’s comments on Thursday morning, tweeting: “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” He also restated the position that Mexico will pay for the barrier.
The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
....The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
He later followed that up with another tweet, saying the wall is necessary for the safety and security of America: “We need the Wall to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world. If there is no Wall, there is no Deal!”
Considering Trump’s tweets came following Kelly’s pronouncements, they could, potentially, indicate that the president is losing patience with another member of his staff.
Trump and Kelly have reportedly always had a cold relationship. Michael Wolff’s explosive book ‘Fire and Fury,’ which details Trump’s first year in the White House, describes how the president obsessively asked people if his chief of staff liked him in the weeks after he appointed him in July 2017.
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