White House chief of staff John Kelly let his guard down in a meeting with congressional Democrats Wednesday, telling lawmakers that some of President Trump’s comments about immigration on the campaign trail were “uninformed” and admitting that Mexico will never pay for a wall on its border with the U.S.
Within hours, the comments leaked to the Washington Post, which reported Kelly’s remarks based on the notes of two lawmakers who were in attendance.
“Certain things are said during the campaign that are not fully informed,” Kelly reported said. Later adding: “One thing is to campaign, another thing is to govern. It’s really hard.”
Kelly told attendees that Trump is committed to finding a permanent fix for DACA and took personal credit for the program not being spiked last September. “I worked to get the six-month extension of DACA. I ordered that. I managed that. And everyone has thanked me for that,” he reportedly said.
On the issue of Trump’s proposed border wall, Kelly said “a concrete wall from sea to shining sea” won’t be built, despite Trump’s promises during the campaign. That’s not a groundbreaking admission, though. Kelly has been saying that since a month into the Trump administration when he was the head of the Department of Homeland Security.
But now, Kelly said, Trump has come around on the issue of the wall too. “I had a lot to do with that,” Kelly told lawmakers with a flourish self-aggrandizement that shows Trump has had an influence on him too.