US President Donald Trump insisted 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 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 U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!” he said, reasserting his position on the trade pact which is currently being renegotiated.
Meanwhile, Trump also clarified the wall would not be built in areas of natural protection.
Kelly was brought in as chief of staff six months ago in a bid to put order to the command center 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”.