LOOKING BACK

John Kelly: Trump 'Abandoned’ Need For Solid Border Wall

Outgoing White House Chief-of-Staff John Kelly said that President Trump’s administration “abandoned” the idea of a solid concrete border wall after asking border patrol agents what they needed to prevent illegal immigration, according to the Los Angeles Times. “To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly told the newspaper in an exclusive interview. When Kelly was heading Homeland Security in early 2017, he soon sought advice from Border Patrol and Customs agents on the ground, people who “actually secure the border,”whom he described “salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack folks.” “They said, ‘Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,’” Kelly reportedly claimed. “The president still says ‘wall’—oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. 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, who’s poised to leave the White House on Wednesday, wouldn’t directly comment on whether there were a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, or whether Trump exaggerated claims of a migrant “invasion,” The Times said. He did say, however, “We do have an immigration problem” spurred by people fleeing chaos in their home countries. He also said his view wasn’t black-and-white as Trump's views of immigration. Trump’s refusal to sign a budget that doesn’t include the border wall funding he wants has led to a partial government shutdown. “Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people,” Kelly told the newspaper. “I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids.”