President Donald Trump on Monday pushed back against claims that his administration has abandoned a concrete wall on the border, despite his own outgoing chief of staff’s statements that the idea was ruled out “early on in the administration.”
“An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media,” Trump said on Twitter, without mentioning his outgoing chief of staff, John Kelly.
“Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!”
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published a two-hour interview with Kelly in which he told the paper “to be honest, it’s not a wall.”
Kelly continued, “The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”
The comments from Trump and Kelly come as the partial government shutdown stretches into a second week over Trump’s border wall.
Monday marks the beginning of Kelly’s last week in the White House after 17 months on the job. Kelly, who once was seen as a stabilizing force within the White House, also had a tenure pocked with controversies, and officials were often amazed at how he managed to survive.