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Don't be surprised if it's not a wall

Mounted Border Patrol agents on horseback in front of a prototype of Trump's border wall
Mounted Border Patrol agents stand by as President Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The border wall is one of President Trump's best known campaign promises, and it's the reason we're in a partial government shutdown — but the Associated Press has a good roundup of comments by White House officials and allies that suggest it might end up being less than a complete physical wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Between the lines: It's not surprising that Trump allies would float ideas to negotiate Trump's promise down to something he just calls a wall. But given how important Trump's promise is to his supporters, nothing will be resolved until Trump himself signs off on something less.

The key comments, per AP:

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly, to the Los Angeles Times: Trump gave up on “a solid concrete wall early on in the administration.”
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, on Fox News Sunday: “There may be a wall in some places, there may be steel slats, there may be technological enhancements.”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, to reporters after having lunch with Trump on Sunday: “The wall has become a metaphor for border security.” He said it could just be “a physical barrier along the border.”
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