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Homeland Security Secretary Kelly denies that White House pressured him to preserve ban on entry by green card holders

 (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly denied Tuesday that a senior White House aide asked him to keep in place a temporary ban on allowing green card holders to enter the U.S.

Permanent residents were caught up in the early hours of President Trump's temporary bans on entry by refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. After the orders sowed confusion and drew widespread condemnation, the Department of Homeland Security clarified that green card holders would not be kept out of the country.

According to a weekend report in the Washington Post, Kelly was asked by senior White House counselor Steve Bannon to preserve the ban on green card holders. The White House strongly denied the story, and Kelly echoed that stance at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, calling the report "untrue."

“Every paragraph, every sentence … was wrong," Kelly said. "It was a fantasy story. This reporter, whoever he is, got it so wrong; that’s assuming he’s not making it up."

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) asked whether Kelly had concerns about political advisors pressuring him to act.

“I work for one man. His name is Donald Trump," Kelly said. "He has told me one thing: 'Secure the border.'"

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