Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump says position on border wall remains unchanged

Trump says position on border wall remains unchanged

Kelly suggested during an interview on Wednesday with Fox News that when then-candidate Trump made the border wall commitment, including having Mexico pay for the project, he was not "fully informed".

Mr. Kelly said it would not be possible to build a physical wall across the entire border and suggested the USA might not get Mexico to pay for it after all.

The Times said in publicly differing with Trump, Kelly appeared to be saying he thought "that it is his job to tutor a sometimes ill-informed president, who has never served in public office before".

The Mexican government responded to President Donald Trump about his claim that Mexico will pay for the wall and is the most insecure country in the world.

"Kelly is a hardass", said one Republican lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss Kelly's approach to immigration.

However, as NPR's Kelsey Snell reports, there's no immediate sign of a breakthrough on the issue, as Democrats insist that DACA is part of any deal to keep the government funded past a Friday deadline and conservatives "say they can't support any spending bill that paves the way for a future immigration deal that could favor Democrats".

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said earlier this month the president had "discovered" there are rivers, mountains and rugged terrain that aren't conducive to building a wall in some locations. "I'm talking about a wall that's got to be, like, serious", Trump said.

GOP leaders will try to rely on their majority to pass the bill through the House, and put pressure on Senate Democrats not to block it.

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"The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico", he wrote.

Kelly is "more of an adult", one person familiar with the situation said, and Trump believes that with him in charge, there's a better chance of getting something done.

His comments echo concerns expressed by Democrats and even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who have felt on more than one occasion that they were close to a deal on the about 800,000 people who arrived in the USA illegally as children, and could be deported without legal protections.

Another source in the room with access to notes from the meeting told CNN that Kelly was talking about the difference between campaign speech and actual policy, saying, "You make campaign promises but then you learn the reality of governing, which is hard".

This stance of Kelly, who previously held national security portfolio, shows not only his moderate mood, but his growing power in White House.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, the South Carolina Republican whose rollercoaster relationship with Trump has been a subject of Washington fascination over the past year, said Thursday that Kelly's negotiating abilities were lacking. More recently he's told lawmakers that a continuous wall won't be needed after all because of natural barriers.

Kelly also said that there will be no wall "that Mexico will pay for".

Kelly added that the administration has some ideas to fund the wall, which include "things like visa fees, renegotiation on NAFTA". "In a way, we may be able to get money from Mexico, but not directly from your government".

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