#President Trump publicly pushed back Thursday against a characterization by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that the president’s views on a southern border wall had “evolved” and privately fumed about the episode.
“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” the president said in a morning tweet. “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.”
#Trump’s comments on Twitter came a day after Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that some of the hard-line immigration policies Trump advocated during the campaign were “uninformed,” that the United States will never construct a wall along its entire southern border and that Mexico will never pay for it, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Later Wednesday, Kelly confirmed his comments during a television interview but attempted to play down differences with the president while describing him as a willing negotiator as a government shutdown looms.
“He has evolved in the way he looks at things,” Kelly told Fox News. “Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very flexible in terms of what’s in the realm of the possible.”
Trump had only positive things to say about Kelly when talking to reporters Thursday, but several Trump associates said the president was furious with his chief of staff both for what he said and for the tone he used, which Trump thought made it appear he was a child who had to be managed.
One Trump associate who spoke to the president Wednesday night said Trump thought Kelly’s comments made him look bad and like he was giving in to Democrats.