President Trump Denies Changing View On Mexico Border Plan

US President Donald Trump has denied changing his views on the Mexico border wall.

It comes after his chief of staff, John Kelly, told Fox News that the president’s opinions had evolved since his original campaign promises about its construction and funding.

“Campaigning is very different from governing,” said Mr Kelly on Wednesday.

Hours later, the president tweeted to say Mexico would still “directly or indirectly” pay for the wall.

Why does the wall matter now?

Immigration is a key issue between lawmakers and the White House on the eve of a possible federal government shutdown.

With a longer-term budget deal not reached, Congress faces a Friday midnight deadline to pass a stopgap measure that would fund federal agencies until next month.

Democrats want the bill to include protections for immigrants who entered the US illegally as children, known as “Dreamers”.

The Republican president had signalled he was ready to make a deal to help the Dreamers, in return for border security funding to include a wall on the Mexican border.

Have the wall plans changed?

Both the president and his chief of staff cited the estimated cost as $20bn (£14bn); Mr Trump had originally put the figure at $10-$12bn.

Mr Kelly said the administration was looking at creating a wall across 800 miles (1,300km) of the 3,100km stretch.

Last year Mr Trump said his wall would cover 1,000 miles with natural obstacles taking care of the rest.

During his election campaign, Mr Trump had also insisted Mexico would pay for it in its entirety.

 

Mr Kelly said they were now looking at alternative ways to raise funds, including via possible visa fees or renegotiating the Nafta trade deal between the US, Canada and Mexico.

In his tweet, President Trump said he still expected Mexico to pick up the costs, possibly “through longer term reimbursement”.

On Wednesday, US media reported that Mr Kelly had privately told a group of Democrats from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that President Trump had not been fully informed when he first came up with his wall plans.

When Fox News asked Mr Kelly if he had called the president “misinformed”, he did not deny it.

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