Donald Trump’s outgoing chief of staff said the president has long ago moved away from a recurring campaign pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sparking an ongoing partial government shutdown over his demand of billions in funding for the border barrier he initially claimed Mexico would pay for, Trump has remained adamant that he plans to hold out for a concession by Democrats set to take control of the House of Representatives later this week.
John Kelly, however, said supporters of the plan should not expect a “solid concrete wall” resembling the one described during the 2016 presidential campaign.
He said Trump discarded that idea “early on in the administration.”
Kelly pointed to the president’s recent rhetoric as evidence that the goalposts have moved.
“The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats,” he said.
Regardless of Trump’s rhetoric, Kelly tempered expectations among those who expect to see a solid wall erected on the southern border.
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” he said.