White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is on the defense after outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed that President Donald Trump gave up on his plans to build a physical wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Conway claims that the argument over a wall, fence or barrier is “semantic,” and that the government will do whatever is necessary to secure the border, according to CNN.
“It is a silly semantic argument because people who just want to say ‘wall, wall, wall’ want it to be a four-letter word and not respect what Customs and Border Patrol and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] tell us they need,” Conway told Fox News Sunday. “Always saying ‘wall’ or ‘no wall’ is being very disingenuous and turning a complete blind eye to what is a crisis at the border.”
“The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats,” he said. “But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”
He went on to say that Customs and Border Protection expressed a need for technology and personnel more than they need physical barriers, though some areas needed that as well.
Trump has made the border wall – or fence as he likes to call it – a key element of his election campaign and administration. Currently, the government is partially shut down as Trump and Democrats battle over funding for building the wall, leaving 800,000 workers furloughed or working without pay. Despite originally claiming that Mexico would pay for the wall, Trump is seeking a “modest investment” of $5 billion to build the promised barrier, something Democrats reject.
Now, Conway is defending the wall, saying that it is necessary in order to secure the border from the so-called gangs and drugs that she believes are flowing over the border. She also pointed to recently slain officer Ronil Singh, who was killed by a suspected drunk driver in California, as evidence for the need for stronger border control. Some on the right are using Singh’s death as an example of what happens when sanctuary cities harbor illegal immigrants.
Conway also said that she believes Trump has compromised enough on his side and that the ball is in Democrats’ court now. She declined to say if the president had reached out to negotiate with any progressive leaders, but said that he is awaiting a counteroffer from lawmakers on the left.
I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security. From what I hear, they are spending so much time on Presidential Harassment that they have little time left for things like stopping crime and our military!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018