White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Democratic congressmen Wednesday there will be no wall stretching the complete length of the 2,100-mile U.S.-Mexico border and that some of President Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were “uninformed,” according to a Washington Post report Wednesday.
Kelly also reportedly indicated that the Mexican government will not fund the planned 700 miles of wall, which is expected to cost $20 billion.
The chief of staff is said to have made the comments in a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.
The Post said its report is based on notes from two congressmen who were in the room during the meeting and confirmed by two other lawmakers and a senior aide who were also present.
Kelly requested the meeting after being asked to do so by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., according to the paper, which noted that Pelosi “has been in frequent contact with Kelly over the last several months and told him that the group is critical to reaching a deal” on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., asked Kelly to explain some of Trump’s campaign promises to construct a border wall.
“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. It’s really hard.”
Kelly said the U.S. will not construct “a concrete wall from sea to shining sea.” Rather, he explained that the Trump administration is asking for “a physical barrier in many places.”
“Concrete wall is not a realistic solution in many places,” Kelly said, noting that the physical features of portions of the border would make it challenging to construct a wall along the 2,100-mile stretch between the U.S. and Mexico.
Kelly instead explained that the U.S. need only construct “700 more miles of barrier” and that “concrete wall would be good in only certain places.” Other portions of the border could be patrolled with drones and manpower.
“Kelly also said that there will be no wall ‘that Mexico will pay for,'” the Post reported.
On Fox News Wednesday, Kelly reportedly explained, “We have some ideas on things like visa fees, renegotiation of NAFTA … but not directly from their government.”
Kelly, who previously served as homeland security secretary and commander of U.S. military forces in Latin America, claimed he has helped President Trump “evolve on issues of the wall.”
“I had a lot to do with that,” Kelly told lawmakers concerning President Trump’s shift on the issue of border security.
“He campaigned against DACA,” Kelly said, but the president has since “lightened up.”
The White House had not returned WND’s request for comment at the time of this report.
On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted: “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 …..”
The Republican Party’s amended platform during the RNC stated, “The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
Concerning who will pay for that wall, Trump said: “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!”
CNN reported Wednesday that sources confirmed Kelly made the statements about President Trump being “uninformed” during the campaign:
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.
“Drug cartels will always find a way to get their drugs in so long as there’s demand in the U.S.,” Kelly reportedly told lawmakers, adding that drug cartel bosses “are very smart and good businessmen.”
Kelly also told the meeting, “The president is committed to a permanent solution on DACA.”
“I worked to get the six-month extension of DACA,” Kelly said. “I ordered that. I managed that. And everyone has thanked me for that.”