Trump pushes back on Kelly claim: All concrete wall was ‘never abandoned’

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE on Monday asserted that his administration did not abandon the concept of building a concrete wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a day after his outgoing chief of staff, John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, said the White House had long since moved on from the idea of a “solid concrete wall.”

Trump tweeted that an "all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media." Kelly's interview with the Los Angeles Times was published on Sunday morning.

The president also repeated his proposal for the border wall to be made with “see through” materials.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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)," Trump added. "Makes sense to me!"

 

Kelly, who is leaving the administration at the start of the new year, told the Los Angeles Times that Customs and Border Protection agents told him during his brief stint as secretary of Homeland Security that they need physical barriers in some areas, but largely indicated a desire for new technology and additional personnel.

"To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly said of the president's signature campaign promise.

“The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats," Kelly added. "But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."

Trump's pushback on Kelly's comments comes as he is demanding $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border. His funding request precipitated the partial government shutdown that has now gone on for 10 days, with no end in sight.

Democrats, who have offered $1.3 billion for border security, have shown no indication they will give in to the president's demands to fund the wall. Lawmakers left the capital last week, a sign that a breakthrough on funding is not imminent.

In a subsequent tweet later Monday morning, Trump argued that the southern border is an "open wound" and that the country could not have adequate border security "without a strong and powerful Wall." He wrote that Democrats "should get back here an [sic] fix now," though GOP lawmakers have also left Washington in recent days.

 

Trump has in recent days offered various descriptions of what the wall could look like, arguing that the structure could be called "fencing," and that it would be "artistically designed" steel slats instead of concrete. He has previously said the wall would be "see-through" in some areas. 

Updated at 9:08 a.m.