Trump Says Wall Not Abandoned as Fight Over Funding Goes On
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he hasn’t dropped his demand for a concrete wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a day after his outgoing chief of staff said the idea had been nixed months ago.
“An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media,” Trump said Monday on Twitter as a partial government shutdown precipitated by a dispute over border wall funding stretched into its 10th day. “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!”
Trump’s comments run counter to those that Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is set to leave his post his week, made in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Sunday. Kelly told the paper that the White House had dropped the idea of a concrete wall months ago.
Several White House officials suggested Sunday that the definition of Trump’s border wall could be flexible and might include broader security measures. In an interview on ABC’s “This Week," U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the administration wants about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of a border wall system and “not just a dumb barrier.”
“We’re talking about sensors, cameras, lighting, access roads for our agents -– a system that helps us secure that area of the border,” McAleenan said. “It’s a multifaceted approach.”
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway accused Democrats of fixating on Trump’s description of the wall, calling the impasse “a silly semantic argument."
While Trump has in recent weeks expanded his definition of a wall to include barriers not made of concrete, he continues to insist on a physical structure on the border with Mexico.
The pledge for a wall was central to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and he’s refused to sign any spending bill that didn’t give him the resources to follow through. That caused government funding for nine federal departments to lapse on Dec. 21.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.