Trump claims his stance on the border wall hasn’t changed. His own record proves that’s not true.

The president has definitely adjusted how he talks about his "big, beautiful" wall.

CREDIT: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
CREDIT: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump this week denied changing his stance over a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, something he touted as necessary and crucial during the 2016 presidential campaign. The comments contradict statements from Chief of Staff John Kelly as well as Trump’s own record.

“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water,” Trump tweeted early Thursday morning.

He added, “The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is ‘peanuts’ compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!”

Trump’s comments followed earlier remarks from Kelly, who told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday that the president had not been “fully informed” at the time that he promised a massive wall along the border. He later told Fox News that the realities of the border would make a wall like the one Trump is proposing close to impossible.


“[T]here are places where hydrographically, geographically, a wall would not be realistic. There are other parts of the southwest border that are so wild and untamed that there is no traffic that goes through them,” Kelly said.

Since being educated on the topic, Kelly said, Trump “has evolved in the way he has looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of the realm of what is possible.”

Kelly also downplayed Trump’s comments on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary protections for young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The president has often promised a “big, beautiful wall,” but the specifics of that project have never been entirely clear. The wall, which poses a number of environmental, logistical, and financial obstacles, is all but impossible to build in the style Trump wants. The president has also seemed to shift his stance dramatically at times, saying that the wall is more of a symbolic gesture, rather than a literal proposal.


Initially, Trump also claimed Mexico would pay for the wall (something the Mexican government has refuted numerous times). He later acknowledged the plan’s pitfalls, pushing for Congress to approve taxpayer funding for the wall — a request that remains contentious, even within his own party. On January 11, Trump flip-flopped again, promising that the wall would be paid for “indirectly” by Mexico, through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the president has repeatedly blasted as a “bad joke” and unfair for the United States.

Trump’s tweets Thursday morning indicate that there will likely be no immigration deal in the upcoming spending bill — something Democrats have demanded in order to avert a government shutdown. The president previously rejected a bipartisan immigration deal containing nearly $3 billion for border security and has repeatedly said he will not sign any legislation that does not include funding for the wall, despite a momentary lapse earlier in January, during which he claimed would “sign any bill” that Congress sent him.

The government is set to shut down at midnight on Friday if a deal is not struck.