'The Wall is the Wall': Trump pushes back after reports said his chief of staff talked him down on the border wall

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

  • President Donald Trump bashed NAFTA and again promised that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall "directly or indirectly."
  • Trump said his idea of the wall "has never changed."
  • It appears he disputes a New York Times story quoting Democratic lawmakers who said he was not fully informed on the issue.
  • The US, Mexico, and Canada will meet to discuss NAFTA from January 23-28 in Montreal. Some expect him to withdraw from the deal entirely.


President Donald Trump bashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, again promised that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall, and appeared to dispute a New York Times story about his understanding of immigration on Twitter on Thursday morning.

"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.

Trump's tweet followed a story in the Times that quoted Democratic lawmakers as saying Trump had not been "fully informed" when campaigning on the platform of building a wall in 2016.

The same story says that John Kelly, the retired general that now serves as Trump's Chief of Staff, told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that Trump's views on the wall had "evolved," and that he had convinced Trump the wall wasn't necessary.

Trump goes back to basics, saying again Mexico will pay for the wall

Trump border

'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 second tweet of the morning read.

NAFTA, a 24-year-old pact between the US, Canada, and Mexico that lowers tariffs and makes it easier for goods and services to flow across the three countries' borders, has been a frequent target of Trump's criticism, which he sometimes refers to as "the worst trade deal in history."

On January 11, a report that Canadian officials had become convinced Trump would exit the deal sent the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso plummeting.

The US is due to meet with Mexican and Canadian officials from January 23-28 in Montreal, Canada, to discuss the agreement. Although Trump attacks the deal as being bad for workers in the US, citing trade imbalances as evidence, the majority of US states export billions of dollars worth of goods to Mexico and Canada every year.

Trump's border wall funding under fire

border wall prototypes

Besides the renegotiation of NAFTA proposed by Trump, he has also been looking to secure funding for his promised border wall amid bipartisan immigration talks in Congress that have stalled following allegedly foul language and untenable policy positions expressed by Trump.

When the lawmakers presented Trump with their immigration plan, he and other Republican hardliners on immigration reportedly rejected the deal as it didn't include funding for the Wall and the elimination of the diversity visa lottery program, another form of immigration Trump has taken aim at.

On Twitter on Thursday, outlined a practical approach to the wall that would take into account the geography of the US-Mexico border, while saying he would ensure Mexico finances it "directly or indirectly."

SEE ALSO: 3 maps show why NAFTA is so important to the US

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