Chief of staff Kelly: Trump backed away from wall months ago

Conway Border wall debate ‘a foolish semantic argument

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

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday morning that it was a "silly semantic argument" to debate what the border wall would be made of and sought to blame Democrats for refusing to compromise on the president's demand for billions of USA taxpayer dollars for a wall. "But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it", Kelly continued.

On Dec. 21, Trump tweeted an image for a mock-up for the "Steel Slat Barrier", which he described as "totally effective while at the same time attractive".

"I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security", Trump tweeted earlier. "Things are already happening in California in terms of that". They need to come to the table and do their job. And they have said they need barriers.

He said the President was now pushing for a steel slat structure, rather than a concrete wall.

But Conway indicated that Mr Trump has moved off his demand for a physical wall along parts of the border, as he promised during his 2016 campaign, calling discussion of a wall "is a silly semantic argument".

Trump has threatened to end aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, despite a State Department announcement on December 18 that the USA was ready to offer $4.5 billion (S$6.14 billion) in investment in Central America and southern Mexico, and that the administration was requesting an additional $180 million in assistance to the region. "Border Patrol needs the wall and it will all end".

There's little indication of any imminent agreement to resolve the standoff before the new Congress convenes on January 3.Trump is demanding $5 billion for the wall, while Democratic leaders proposed $1.3 billion for border security.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said Mexico would pay for the wall.

"Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA!"

"I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border". Jakelin suffered from dehydration and shock, while Felipe died just before 11:50 p.m. on Christmas Eve after falling ill with flu-like symptoms.

"If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop United States demand for drugs, and expand economic opportunity in Central America". But during a call this week, Schumer informed the White House that they do not expect to accept or counteroffer the White House's proposal, a second official added. "They said they could pass with the children", Lucas told the Associated Press.

While the shutdown goes on, hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain without pay, either on duty or forcibly off it and facing increasing hardship.

The shutdown began on December 22 after the President 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.

There has also been talk about a special allowance for some classes of Central American refugees to be granted a more robust asylum status. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said he will not bring a vote to the floor unless the President has endorsed it. Lindsey Graham suggested that a compromise could be reached, but only on one condition. Graham said it would involve tying wall funding to the BRIDGE Act, which he and Illinois Democratic Sen.



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