Kelly: Trump Wasn't 'Fully Informed' on Border Wall; Trump Denies

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 7:30 AM

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has offered an explanation for why President Trump may be going back on his campaign promise of building a border wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and having Mexico pay for it.

Speaking to Fox News’s Bret Baier Wednesday, Kelly said that some of Trump’s hard-line immigration positions were the result of not being “fully informed.”

“This president, if you've seen what he's done, he has changed the way he's looked at a number of things,” Kelly told Baier on “Special Report.”

He also didn’t deny that he told Democratic lawmakers the president was uninformed about the wall.

“There's been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through... and I pointed out to all the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed,” Kelly said.

Trump, he added, has “adjusted the way he’s looked at” certain issues, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and his Afghanistan strategy.

But on the wall, Kelly said he came to learn after speaking with experts that there are places it wouldn’t be realistic because of geographical conditions.

And as for Mexico paying for it, he acknowledged the money would not be coming from the Mexican government.

“In one way or another, it's possible that we could get the revenue from Mexico but not directly from their government,” Kelly said.

“Campaign to governing are two different things,” he continued. “And this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”

Kelly told Baier that in making a deal with Democrats on immigration, Trump wants 700 more miles of border wall and $20 billion in funding. As far as chain migration, the president is only OK with an immigrant’s nuclear family coming—but that’s it. 


Trump seemed to push back on Kelly's statements early Thursday morning, tweeting that he never "evolved" on the wall and that one way or another, Mexico will pay for it. 

"The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it," he wrote. "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 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!"