President Donald Trump has insisted that his views on a border wall with Mexico have not evolved, despite his own chief of staff’s comments to politicians.
President Trump said on Twitter: “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.”
Some Democrats who met with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday say Mr Kelly told them parts of the border do not need a wall — and that President Trump did not know that when making campaign promises.
President Trump tweeted on Thursday that some of the wall will be “see through”, and he wrote that the wall was never supposed to be built where there are natural barriers.
He added that it “will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous 71 billion US dollar (£51 billion) trade surplus with the US.”
Mr Kelly’s assertion that President Trump’s views on immigration had evolved came as politicians try to reach accord on protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation, a push the White House and Republicans say they would back, if it’s coupled with tough border security measures and other restrictions.
President Trump tweeted: “If there is no Wall, there is no Deal!”
He said the US needs a wall “to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world”.
Mr Kelly made the remarks about President Trump and the wall on Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, participants said, and he made similar comments later on Fox News Channel.
Mr Kelly said on Fox he told the caucus that “they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed”.
He said President Trump has “very definitely changed his attitude” toward protecting the young immigrants, “and even the wall, once we briefed him”.
“So he has evolved in the way he’s looked at things,” Mr Kelly said.
“Campaign to governing are two different things and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realms of the possible.”