John Kelly spent 17 months as the president’s right-hand man serving as the White House Chief of Staff. Although he is currently one of the longest-serving members of Trump’s inner circle, he is expected to give up his post by the end of the month. Prior to leaving the high-profile job, Kelly opened up in an exclusive interview about Trump’s plans moving forward. During the interview, he revealed details regarding the infamous border wall, the government shutdown, and immigration policies, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Kelly surprised many by saying that the president is beginning to lean away from his campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although a barrier is still in the works, it will likely not be the structure most Americans imagine. “To be honest, it’s not a wall. We left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it,” Kelly said. He explained that the border Trump has in mind will utilize technological advancements and an increased law enforcement presence. Those who frequently follow the president’s public discourse will notice that he seems to be staying away from the word “wall” in recent speeches. Rather, he is using the term “barrier,” “fencing,” or “steel slat.”
— Molly O'Toole (@mollymotoole) December 30, 2018
The outgoing White House Chief of Staff expressed his compassion for those affected by the refugee crisis. He has his own opinions as to how to go about alleviating the surge of immigration. “One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to keep people from coming — obviously it’d be preferable for them to stay in their own homeland but it’s difficult to do sometimes, where they live — is a crazy, oftentimes conflicting series of loopholes in the law in the United States that makes it extremely hard to turn people around and send them home,” Kelly said.
Many Americans are frustrated, to say the least, with the president’s recent decision to shut down the government until he receives the necessary funding for the border wall. Despite their concerns, Kelly stressed that the president rarely acts of his own accord. Every decision he makes is brought about following professional counsel and in-house debate. Although his choices might not be supported by many, they are not made solely out of ignorance, according to Kelly.
Moving forward, the outgoing Chief of Staff hopes his time at the White House will be judged about his actions personally, not the moves the president didn’t make.