Conway calls clash over border wall 'silly semantic argument'

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayIllinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Trump health chief: Officials actively 'working on' ObamaCare replacement plan Campaign aide: Trump asking questions shared by 'millions of Americans' with Epstein conspiracy theory MORE on Sunday called the debate over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a "silly semantic argument" after outgoing chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE indicated the administration is not pushing for a concrete structure.

"It is a silly semantic argument because people who just want to say 'wall, wall, wall' want it to be a four-letter word and not respect what Customs and Border Patrol and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] tell us they need," Conway said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Always saying 'wall' or 'no wall' is being very disingenuous and turning a complete blind eye to what is a crisis at the border," she added.


Conway's comments came hours after the Los Angeles Times published an interview with Kelly in which he said the administration has abandoned the concept of a solid concrete wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly told the Times.

Trump's desire for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has led to an ongoing government shutdown that has lasted more than a week. The president has demanded $5 billion in funding for the structure, something Democrats have rejected.

Trump has in recent days altered his messaging on the wall, attempting to argue that the structure could be called "fencing," and that it would be "artistically designed" steel slats instead of concrete.

Conway said Sunday that she believes Trump has "already compromised" on his demands for border wall funding, and called his desired $5 billion a "modest investment."

She added that Trump "wants all types of border security. The House passed the package. It went to the Senate. It was tendered to the Senate and the Senate did not counter offer. Dana, why aren't they counter offering with something that means something to them? We haven't heard from them. It's complete crickets. For partisan, political reasons, while just two days ago we writ large saw the president's entire point"

The president has said he is waiting for Democrats to negotiate with him, but Conway on Sunday did not say whether the president had reached out to Democratic leaders to initiate talks.