President Trump insisted that his idea of a border wall hasn’t “evolved” on Thursday, a day after his chief of staff told lawmakers that the president’s campaign pledge to build the barrier was not “fully informed.”
“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” Trump tweeted.”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.”
He continued: “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,” adding that the “$20 billion border wall is, “peanuts compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!”
The president’s comments after John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that the US will never erect a wall along the entire southern border and that Mexico won’t pay for what’s built.
He said that he has helped shape Trump’s thinking on immigration and the wall.
“There’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through … and I pointed out to all the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed,” Kelly told Fox News later Wednesday.
He said Trump has “adjusted the way he’s looked at” other matters as well, including military strategy in Afghanistan and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which shields young immigrants – known as “Dreamers” – who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents from deportation.
The issue is at the center of negotiations to prevent a government shutdown by Friday night when it runs out of money unless Congress passes a spending bill.
Democrats want a vote to protect DACA, which Trump rescinded last September and gave Congress until March 5 to make some fixes, as part of the deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to express the frustrations on Capitol Hill as they try to hammer out an agreement.
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor, but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law and therefore solve the problem.