President Donald Trump on Monday disputed an assertion by his outgoing chief of staff, John F. Kelly, that the White House has abandoned plans for a solid concrete border wall, writing on Twitter that the idea was "NEVER ABANDONED."
In morning tweets, Trump sought to blame the media for the discrepancy and said he still envisions an “all concrete” wall in some areas but that a “see through” barrier would be more appropriate in other areas.
In an interview published Sunday in the Los Angeles Times, Kelly was quoted saying that the current White House plan for a barrier is "not a wall."
"The president still says 'wall' - oftentimes frankly he'll say 'barrier' or 'fencing,' now he's tended toward steel slats," Kelly 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."
In one of his tweets, Trump pushed back on that account:
"An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media," the president said. "Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!"
An impasse over border security has led to a partial government shutdown, now in its second week.
A Trump-backed spending bill passed by House Republicans on Dec. 21 included more than $5 billion in border-security funding that could be spent on a wall, but that measure has not gained traction in the Senate, where Democrats are resisting the president's demand.
Monday was not the first time Trump has taken issue with Kelly's description of his views on the border wall, a marquee campaign promise in 2016.
In January, Kelly drew Trump's ire by telling congressional Democrats that Trump had "evolved" on the wall and was not "fully informed" when he made it a campaign issue.
In that instance, Trump also responded on Twitter to news reports about Kelly's remarks, writing: "The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it."
In his tweets Monday, Trump appeared to remain steadfast in his insistence on border-wall funding and blamed Democrats for the impasse.
“I campaigned on Border Security, which you cannot have without a strong and powerful Wall,” he said. “Our Southern Border has long been an ‘Open Wound,’ where drugs, criminals (including human traffickers) and illegals would pour into our Country. Dems should get back here an fix now!”