John Kelly, who will leave his post Wednesday after a tumultuous 17 months in the job, said in an exit interview with the Los Angeles Times that Trump abandoned the notion of "a solid concrete wall early on in the administration".
Meanwhile, then there are discrepancies over that word 'wall.' The president recently tweeted a picture of steel slats.
Trump says a wall is needed along the whole border to keep out migrants trying to enter the country illegally, casting them as an "invasion" force of risky criminals.
"If he had said to me, 'Do it, or you're fired, '" Kelly insisted he would have resigned, later adding that he told Trump that "the last thing in my view that you need in the chief of staff is someone that looks at every issue through a political lens".
The president, who had already scrapped a Christmas visit to his Florida golf resort, has also "cancelled his plans for New Year's", his incoming chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said on Fox News.
The president Monday tweeted, "I'm in the Oval Office".
So did President Trump make the right call to shut down the government during the remaining days of a Republican-controlled Congress?
In one of his tweets, Trump rejected that account.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
3 dead, 79 missing in Russian Federation apartment block explosion
Officials said four people were confirmed dead and five others, including two children, had been taken to hospital. The blast rocked the apartment complex at around 4 a.m. local time, completely collapsing one of its sections.
"A lot of people in retrospect will say we should have accepted that", Leahy told reporters on December 19. Mr Trump claimed the deaths were "strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally".
The two sides are at a stalemate over Trump's demand for billions for a U.S. -Mexico border wall that Democrats are intent on blocking.
Trump said in a Twitter post that border security can not exist "without a strong and powerful Wall".
"Democrats are united against the President's immoral, ineffective and expensive wall - the wall that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for", Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman, said in an emailed statement.
This is a Democratic proposal, and it is unclear if it will be taken up by the Senate, where Republicans will expand their majority come Thursday, or if President Trump will support it. Speaker-designate Pelosi has previously stated that the House would take up a bill to reopen government as a first order of business. Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway accused Democrats of fixating on Trump's description of the wall, calling the impasse "a silly semantic argument".
A recent poll conducted by Reuters indicated that President Trump is bearing the brunt of the blame with the public for the shutdown; however, the three most recent government shutdowns appear to have not been major factors in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 elections.
The bills the Democrats will propose are expected to pass the House easily, given that Democrats will have a majority of 40 seats. But the idea of clouding Pelosi's speakership only emboldens Trump, the officials said.
But Graham said there would never be a government spending deal that did not include money for a wall or other physical barriers on the southern border. But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of "Dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children - broke down past year as a result of escalating White House demands.
An estimated 380,000 federal employees in those departments have been furloughed and another 420,000 will have to work without pay.