President Donald Trump gave a preview of his border wall plans on Monday, saying that the choice of materials is being shaped by input from the Border Patrol.
During his 2016 campaign for the White House, Trump often spoke of his vision of a 30-foot concrete barrier that would reduce illegal immigration across America’s Southern Border.
On Monday, he said that his initial vision has evolved thanks to the help of those who guard the border. He also responded to media coverage of a Los Angeles Times interview with outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly that was published Sunday where Kelly downplayed the idea of a solid concrete “wall” on the border of the United States and Mexico.
“An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. 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 tweeted.
An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
The composition of the border wall became a media tempest after Kelly said that the massive, concrete, sea-to-sea barrier often envisioned by Trump supporters is not in the cards.
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly told the Los Angeles Times.
Kelly, who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the start of the Trump administration, said Border Patrol agents told him a variety of approaches were needed across the vastly different terrain of the border.
“They said, ‘Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,’” he said.
“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.”
Although Kelly and Trump might use different words, in the interview, Kelly said that the purpose remained the same.
“We do have an immigration problem,” he said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that while “wall” remains the administration’s word of choice to describe the final product, there has been no secret that Trump’s expectation is more nuanced than massive slabs of concrete end to end.
The interview is here. The “wall” discussion starts about the 5-minute mark.
“I think many people who don’t want to fess up to border security and get Congress to do its job and close the loopholes insist it’s a wall, wall, wall,” she told CNN. “The president has said, he said last week, and he tweeted out pictures of steel slats. Things are already happening in California in terms of that.”
Conway said the goal is to get the job done.
“It really depends on what Customs and Border Patrol says they need. And they have said they need barriers. The president says a wall — barriers, the president says they need steel slats. They need technological enhancements,” she said.
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