image

Donald Trump

Donald Trump and his chief of staff at odds over whether president changed his mind over promised border wall

Kelly was brought in as chief of staff six months ago in a bid to put order to the command centre of Trump’s chaotic presidency

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 8:43pm

US President Donald Trump insisted on Thursday that his plan for a wall along the Mexican border has “never changed or evolved,” in tweets posted after his chief of staff said he was not “fully informed” when he pledged to build it last year.

Retired General John Kelly’s remarks, made to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and reported by The New York Times on Wednesday, were a rare departure from the president on one of the core issues that defined his upstart run for office.

He told the lawmakers he had persuaded Trump the wall was not necessary and that the president’s opinion on the barrier had “evolved”. But Trump hit back on Twitter, writing: “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.”

The president added that some of the wall will be “see through” – a protection, he said last July, against people throwing “large sacks of drugs” over – and repeated that it will be paid for “directly or indirectly” by Mexico.

“The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the US Nafta is a bad joke!” he said, reasserting his position on the trade pact which is currently being renegotiated.

Trump wants to spend US$18 billion to extend his ‘big beautiful wall’

Kelly was brought in as chief of staff six months ago in a bid to put order to the command centre of Trump’s chaotic presidency.

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