Thursday July 2nd, 2020 4:57AM

Trump's promise of a wall may not be fulfilled as advertised

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three confidantes of President Donald Trump, including his departing chief of staff, are indicating that the president's signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would not be fulfilled as advertised.

Trump sparked fervent chants of "Build that wall!" at rallies before and after his election and more recently cited a lack of funding for a border wall as the reason for partially shutting down the government. At times the president has also waved off the idea that the wall could be any kind of barrier.

However, White House chief of staff John Kelly told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday that Trump abandoned the notion of "a solid concrete wall early on in the administration."

"To be honest, it's not a wall," Kelly said, adding that the mix of technological enhancements and "steel slat" barriers the president now wants along the border resulted from conversations with law enforcement professionals.

Along the same lines, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called discussion of the apparent contradiction "a silly semantic argument."

"There may be a wall in some places, there may be steel slats, there may be technological enhancements," Conway told "Fox News Sunday." ''But only saying 'wall or no wall' is being very disingenuous and turning a complete blind eye to what is a crisis at the border."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is close to the president, emerged from a Sunday lunch at the White House to tell reporters that "the wall has become a metaphor for border security" and referred to "a physical barrier along the border."

Graham said Trump was "open-minded" about a broader immigration agreement, saying the budget impasse presented an opportunity to address issues beyond the border wall. But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of "Dreamers" — young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children— broke down last year as a result of escalating White House demands.

Graham said he hoped to end the shutdown by offering Democrats incentives to get them to vote for wall funding and told CNN before his lunch with Trump that "there will never be a deal without wall funding."

Graham proposed to help two groups of immigrants get approval to continue living in the U.S: about 700,000 young "Dreamers" brought into the U.S. illegally as children and about 400,000 people receiving temporary protected status because they are from countries struggling with natural disasters or armed conflicts. He also said the compromise should include changes in federal law to discourage people from trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

"Democrats have a chance here to work with me and others, including the president, to bring legal status to people who have very uncertain lives," Graham said.

The partial government shutdown began Dec. 22 after Trump bowed to conservative demands that he fight to make good on his vow and secure funding for the wall before Republicans lose control of the House on Wednesday. Democrats have remained committed to blocking the president's priority, and with neither side engaging in substantive negotiation, the effect of the partial shutdown was set to spread and to extend into the new year.

In August 2015 during his presidential campaign, Trump made his expectations for the border explicitly clear, as he parried criticism from rival Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.

"Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a 'fence,'" he tweeted. "It's not a fence, Jeb, it's a WALL, and there's a BIG difference!"

Trump suggested as much again in a tweet on Sunday: "President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!"

Aside from what constitutes a wall, neither side appeared ready to budge off its negotiating position. The two sides have had little direct contact during the stalemate, and Trump did not ask Republicans, who hold a monopoly on power in Washington until Thursday, to keep Congress in session.

Talks have been at a stalemate for more than a week, after Democrats said the White House offered to accept $2.5 billion for border security. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Vice President Mike Pence that it wasn't acceptable, nor was it guaranteed that Trump, under intense pressure from his conservative base to fulfill his signature campaign promise, would settle for that amount.

Conway claimed Sunday that "the president has already compromised" by dropping his request for the wall from $25 billion, and she called on Democrats to return to the negotiating table.

"It is with them," she said, explaining why Trump was not reaching out to Democrats.

Democrats maintain that they have already presented the White House with three options to end the shutdown, none of which fund the wall, and insist that it's Trump's move.

"At this point, it's clear the White House doesn't know what they want when it comes to border security," said Justin Goodman, Schumer's spokesman. "While one White House official says they're willing to compromise, another says the president is holding firm at no less than $5 billion for the wall. Meanwhile, the president tweets blaming everyone but himself for a shutdown he called for more than 25 times."

After canceling a vacation to his private Florida club, Trump spent the weekend at the White House. He has remained out of the public eye since returning early Thursday from a 29-hour trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, instead taking to Twitter to attack Democrats. He also moved to defend himself from criticism that he couldn't deliver on the wall while the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

"For those that naively ask why didn't the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the last year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us "NONE" for Border Security!," he tweeted. "Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown."

Democrats have vowed to pass legislation restoring the government as soon as they take control of the House on Thursday, but that won't accomplish anything unless Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate go along with it.

The shutdown has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors to stay home or work without pay.


Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, AP Business, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Foles leads Eagles past Redskins 24-0, into playoffs
Nick Foles did it again, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-0 victory over the Redskins and the defending Super Bowl champions earned the NFC's final wild-card berth when Chicago beat the Vikings on Sunday
7:23PM ( 2 minutes ago )
The Latest: Chiefs clinch top seed in AFC
The Chiefs finally clinched their third consecutive AFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, and Patrick Mahomes and the rest of Kansas City's offense continued to shatter records in a 35-3 whitewash of the rebuilding Oakland Raiders.
7:17PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Origin of virus that hobbled newspapers still unclear
The origins of a suspected computer attack that disrupted the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Publishing newspapers remain unclear
7:01PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Lion kills worker after escaping locked area at conservatory
A wildlife conservatory in North Carolina says a worker has been killed by a lion that got loose from a locked space
6:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Graham says Trump slowing down planned withdrawal from Syria
Graham says Trump has ordered a slowdown to the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria
5:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
Prices rise as the minimum wage increases in several states
Employers in 20 states and numerous cities will have to pay their workers more as minimum wage hikes take effect in the new year
5:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Former Afghanistan commander warns of plans to cut troops
The former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says that withdrawing up to half the 14,000 American troops serving there reduces the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate
1:49PM ( 5 hours ago )
16 dead in Bangladeshi vote opposition calls "farcical'
Bangladesh's opposition alliance leader has called the country's general election "farcical," saying any outcome will be rejected and demanding that a new election be held under the authority of a "nonpartisan government."
1:39PM ( 5 hours ago )
Minimum wage rising in 20 states and numerous cities
Millions of minimum wage workers will be getting a pay raise with the new year
1:23PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Missouri man fatally shoots girlfriend, her kids, her mother
A St. Louis-area man shot his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother in the home they all shared, authorities said Saturday
10:30AM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: White House says shutdown ball is in Dem's court
The White House says President Donald Trump is not reaching out to Democrats as a partial government shutdown appears set to extend into the new year
10:07AM ( 9 hours ago )
Bangladesh opposition leader rejects election as 'farcical'
Bangladesh's opposition alliance leader has called the country's general election "farcical," saying any outcome will be rejected and demanding that a new election be held under the authority of a "nonpartisan government."
10:04AM ( 9 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: Kelly says Trump long ago gave up concrete wall
The outgoing White House chief of staff says President Donald Trump long ago backed away from his campaign pledge to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border
3:10PM ( 4 hours ago )
The promise and peril of California's legal pot market
California's legal marijuana market is the largest in the US but still a work in progress as it enters its second year
10:35AM ( 8 hours ago )
Trump blames Democrats, not his team, for border deaths
Trump says Democrats, not his administration, to blame for Guatemalan children who died in U.S. custody
12:18AM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
California officer's killing reignites sanctuary law fight
The shooting death of a California police officer has reignited the debate over sanctuary laws
6:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Short on solutions, long on blame in 2nd shutdown weekend
It's the weekend blame game: Trump tweets he's waiting in the White House for Democrats to 'come on over and make a deal on border security,' despite little direct contact with Democrats
5:32PM ( 1 day ago )
Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
Women in the military and female veterans are shifting away from the GOP, while military men remain loyal Republicans
5:08PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Congo counts ballots after day of voting snags
Election officials in Congo are counting ballots from Sunday's presidential election after a day in which numerous problems hampered voting across the vast Central African nation
5:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Bangladesh opposition calls election 'farcical'
Bangladesh opposition alliance leader Kamal Hossain has called the country's general election "farcical," and says any outcome will be rejected
3:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
Afghan official: New date for presidential polls is July 20
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission says presidential polls initially scheduled for April, will now be held July 20 to allow time to fix technical problems that surfaced during October parliamentary elections
12:05PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Elections
Dinnage pulls out of Premier League chief executive role
The English Premier League says its new chief executive has pulled out of the job before even taking up the position
4:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Jags keeping Caldwell as GM, Marrone as coach
The Jaguars are sticking with coach Doug Marrone, top decision-maker Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell in 2019.
4:09PM ( 3 hours ago )
Verizon reaches deal to continue carrying Disney channels
Verizon reaches deal to continue carrying Disney channels on its Fios network
2:25PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Congo on Sunday faces a troubled, long-delayed election
Congo on Sunday faces a troubled, long-delayed election; 'We will contest the results'
1:26PM ( 1 day ago )
In Iowa, Democrats see 2020 as head vs. heart moment
In Iowa, Democrats see presidential race as test of head vs. heart
5:34AM ( 2 days ago )
Alabama AG to review if Senate race tactics violated law
Alabama's attorney general said Thursday that his office is reviewing whether allegedly deceptive social media tactics used in last year's U.S. Senate race might have violated the law
7:12PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Origin of virus that hobbled newspapers still unclear
The origins of a suspected computer attack that disrupted the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Publishing newspapers remain unclear
7:01PM ( 26 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump's wall may be different than advertised
Trump confidantes indicate his promise to build a wall along the border won't be fulfilled as advertised
6:50PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sudfeld replaces Foles at QB for Eagles
Nate Sudfeld has replaced Nick Foles at quarterback for the Eagles in the fourth quarter against the Redskins.
6:46PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Defective bracket found on collapsed jet bridge at airport
Investigators found a defective metal bracket on the jet bridge that collapsed and injured six people at the Baltimore-Washington airport
6:41PM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Chiefs' Mahomes reaches 50 TD passes for season
Patrick Mahomes became the third quarterback in NFL history with a 50-touchdown pass season when he connected with Demarcus Robinson on an 89-yarder midway through the third quarter against Oakland.
6:31PM ( 56 minutes ago )