As a new report claiming the FBI was investigating whether Russia “illegally funneled” money through the NRA to his campaign, President Trump kicked off Thursday’s “executive time” with a tweeted rebuke of comments made by his chief of staff, John Kelly. “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” he explained, adding: “The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term [sic] reimbursement, by Mexico.” For good measure, the Donald also tossed in a few more jabs about the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling it a “bad joke.”
So what does this have to do with Kelly? On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Trump’s second chief of staff had privately told Democratic lawmakers that the president’s long-promised border wall with Mexico was not a “fully informed” idea. Rather, it was simply a campaign pledge that Trump and his advisors had come to see differently following the election.
Per the Washington Post, lawmakers and staffers who attended the meeting, or were informed of what Kelly said afterwards, claimed the general had described Trump’s border wall idea as “uninformed.” Others pushed back on this notion, but the damage was done.
Hence why Kelly, during an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier Wednesday night, responded to the reports by saying Trump “has evolved in the way he has looked at things.” “Campaign to governing are two different things,” he added, “and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”
.@WhiteHouse Chief of Staff John Kelly: “[@realDonaldTrump] has evolved in the way he has looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.” #SpecialReport pic.twitter.com/eW98HeGi7q
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 17, 2018
Judging by Trump’s Thursday morning tweetstorm, especially his co-opting the words “change” and “evolve” from Kelly, it seems the president does not see thing the same way. And considering what has generally been reported regarding Trump’s back-and-forths with current and former staff members, it all sounds like business as usual at the White House.