In the wake of a recent court decision, President Trump has defiantly declared that his administration is continuing to fight to include a citizenship question as part of the census, despite his own Commerce secretary saying hours earlier they were moving forward without it in response to the court ruling.
“The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, just before the July 4th Holiday. “We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.”
Prior to that, Trump had tweeted Tuesday night that he “asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion.”
But he did not, at the time, seem to contradict the message from the department responsible for the once-a-decade national headcount.
Just hours before that tweet, Secretary Wilbur Ross had announced that his department was going ahead with printing the census without the question.
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question,” Ross said in a statement. “My focus and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”
Ross’ statement seemed to indicate they were dropping the issue.
While Trump’s latest statement would appear to tell a different story, a source familiar with Trump’s thinking on the issue maintained he’s being consistent. According to the source, the President was indicating he intends to move forward on the matter in court as a matter of principle, even if the 2020 census ultimately will not include the citizenship question.
Executive Order to Include the Citizenship Question?
Meanwhile, the latest reporting indicates that Trump may be considering an executive order to include the citizenship question on the Census.
The AP is reporting that President Donald Trump is “very seriously” considering an executive order to try to force the inclusion of a citizenship question as part of the 2020 Census.
Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for a weekend in New Jersey, Trump said the idea is among four or five options he’s considering as he pushes the issue.
“It’s one of the ways that we’re thinking about doing it, very seriously,” he said, despite the fact that the government has already begun the process of printing the census questionnaire without that question.
Trump’s administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, including last week’s Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily. Both the Justice and Commerce departments indicated on Tuesday that they were moving forward with the census, minus the citizenship question.