White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that some of the hard-line immigration policies President Trump advocated during the campaign were “uninformed,” that the United States will never construct a wall along its entire southern border and that Mexico will never pay for it, according to people familiar with the meeting.
The comments were out of sync with remarks by Trump, who in recent days has reiterated his desire to build a border wall that would be funded by Mexico “indirectly through NAFTA.”
The mixed signals underscore the difficulty congressional Republicans have faced as they have tried to decipher what the president wants in an immigration deal. And they have contributed to tensions over how to resolve the legal status of immigrants, known as “dreamers,” brought to the country illegally as children.
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Wednesday. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor, but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law and therefore solve the problem.”
The comments were out of sync with remarks by Trump, who in recent day has reiterated his desire to build a border wall.