Donald Trump’s views on the border wall may not have “evolved” as much as his chief of staff, John Kelly, hopes.
In one of his infamous early morning tweets, Trump doubled down on his immigration stance. “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” he wrote on Thursday. Just a day earlier, Kelly had told Fox News that Trump’s views, which may not have been “fully informed” during the campaign, have changed.
“He has evolved in the way he’s looked at things,” Kelly said on the show Wednesday, regarding Mexico paying for a wall that would cover the entire border. “Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very, very flexible about what is within the realm of the possible.”
Kelly had the same perspective during a closed-door meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday, according to participants at the meeting.
The mixed messages over where the president stands could complicate the immigration debate raging in Congress as Washington tries to avoid a government shutdown Friday.
Republicans are expected to move forward with a vote on Thursday that doesn’t include a fix to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era immigration program that offered temporary protection to undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Many Democrats, however, have signaled they won’t vote for a new government spending bill without some version of DACA.
“He’s [Trump’s] not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Wednesday. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I will be convinced that we would not just be spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor.”
As recently as last week, Trump still appeared undecided about exactly what sort of immigration deal he would sign on to.
"My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with," the president told reporters after an immigration discussion with lawmakers on Jan. 9. "If they come to me with things I'm not in love with, I'm going to do it, because I respect them.”