White House Chief of Staff John Kelly went to Capitol Hill Wednesday to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration– and according to lawmakers and sources both in the room and briefed on the meeting– told the group that President Donald Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were not fully informed and that the U.S. would not construct a wall on the border with Mexico “from sea to shining sea.”
“He said the promises of the campaign and governance are two different things, you guys are all elected officials, you know that,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. recalled Kelly telling the group.
Another lawmaker, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement, “I can confirm that Chief of Staff Kelly said today that the president’s campaign was not fully informed about the wall he was promising to voters.”
Gutierrez and other sources familiar with the meeting said Kelly took credit for “educating the president” on a border wall and for some of Trump’s shifting positions on Dreamers– undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Asked about the meeting in a Fox News interview, Kelly said Trump has changed the way he looks at issues since becoming president. “He has evolved in the way he’s looked at things. Campaigns and governing are two different things,” Kelly said.
Kelly said he told the lawmakers people say things “during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed.”
“There are places where 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, ” he said on Fox. “There are other places we think about 800 miles additional wall to include the 600 that’s already in place– the fencing– that would suffice.”