GOP senators: Trump border wall would be more like a 'fence'

GOP senators: Trump border wall would be more like a 'fence'
© Greg Nash

Two Republican senators who met with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE on Tuesday say the president's signature campaign promise for a "big, beautiful" wall on the Mexican border is shaping up to look more like a fence.

Sens. John CornynJohn CornynGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall MORE (R-Texas) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (R-Ariz.) emerged from immigration negotiations with the president Tuesday, with both telling reporters that a "fence" is the most likely outcome of any construction on the border.

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"He's made it clear that he's not talking about a monolithic structure," Cornyn said. "He made the point that this could well be what other people call a fence. I think he made the point that border patrol needs to be able to see through it."

The comments were echoed by Flake on MSNBC, who told "Meet The Press Daily" that the president went further than ever before to explain what the final project would look like.

"We're not talking about a 2,000-mile wall," Flake said. "Plus, the wall isn't so much a wall as it is a fence."

Flake also expressed his surprised that Trump was open to bringing back earmarks as a way to increase bipartisan cooperation in Congress and expedite funding of the border fence. 

"I never thought I'd see a day with a president saying he'd bring earmarks back," Flake said.

In November 2016, Trump appeared to soften his stance on what exactly would qualify as "the wall," saying that there "could be" some fencing in areas, but that a wall would be more appropriate in others.

At a campaign rally last year, Trump emphasized the importance of giving Border Patrol agents the ability to see through the wall to the other side.

"The wall is happening. In fact, you probably saw, you know, we have a wall up there now, and re-renovating it already. It's being made pristine, perfect, just as good as new, though we may go a little higher than that, but that's OK. And we are building samples of a new wall. You know, it has to be a see-through wall," Trump said.

"If you can't [see] through it, you don't know who's on the other side. Let's say we build a pre-cast concrete wall and now we have people on the other side," he continued. "It's going to stop drugs. It's going to stop a lot of bad things."