White House chief of staff John Kelly reassured Democratic lawmakers Wednesday the U.S. would never build a physical, concrete wall along the entirety of the country's southern border, adding that President Trump's campaign promises surrounding immigration were uninformed.
“Certain things are said during the campaign that are not fully informed,” Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
“One thing is to campaign, another thing is to govern. It’s really hard,” Kelly added, multiple sources told the Washington Post.
He later confirmed the reports during an interview with Fox News.
.@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
Earlier, the Washington Examiner reported Democrats left the meeting, held to discuss a possible bipartisan compromise regarding permanent legal protection for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors, without any idea of what that solution may be.
Kelly, however, tried to alleviate the concerns of those present by telling them he was responsible for avoiding an immediate end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September when Trump announced he intended to roll back the Obama-era initiative.
“I worked to get the six-month extension of DACA. I ordered that. I managed that. And everyone has thanked me for that,” Kelly said, per the Washington Post.
He also "had a lot to do" with Trump's evolving position on border security issues, Kelly continued.
He reiterated the comments on Fox News, offering changes to the administration's Afghanistan and the larger South Asia region strategy as another example.
Many attendees were reportedly stunned by Kelly's remarks and lack of knowledge about an immigration bill proposed by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.
But Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., took the opportunity to apologize for lashing out at Kelly in September, calling the retired four-star general and Gold Star father "a disgrace to the uniform" after statements he made about Dreamers.