Yesterday, the Trump administration finally admitted defeat in one of its most contentious ongoing battles. After the Supreme Court denied their request to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census — a scheme critics correctly identified as a blatant attempt to skew the numbers and depress response turnout — the Republican regime conceded that they would not be adding the question.
“We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” said DOJ attorney Kate Bailey in an email, according to CNBC.
Now it appears the situation may not be as firmly settled as previously thought. Trump himself took to Twitter today to say that the reports about the Commerce Department abandoning the citizenship question are “incorrect, or to state it differently, FAKE!”
Given the reliable sources which originally reported the story, it seems far more likely that Trump is lying here and that he simply wants to reverse the decision or wasn’t consulted about it in the first place. In any case, the safest presumption as always is that anything Trump calls “Fake News” is most likely real news that he doesn’t like.
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Trump went on to insist that his administration is “absolutely moving forward” with adding the census question because they “must” due to the “importance of the answer to the question.”
First off, Trump cannot move forward with adding the question. The Supreme Court ruled against him and sent the case back to the lower courts for further consideration. Since he didn’t get the go-ahead from the courts (an increasingly dubious prospect at this point) he cannot legally include the citizenship question. Given his well-documented penchant for lawlessness, it’s not unthinkable that he might try to defy the courts, creating one of the strongest arguments yet for his impeachment in the process.
Secondly, and most vitally, the citizenship question is not important despite what the president insists. The census is necessary to discern how many people live in a given area to help allocate proper federal funding to the region. Both citizens and noncitizens contribute to that population number, so by putting a citizenship question and discouraging noncitizens from answering the questionnaire, the Commerce Department would be ensuring an extremely skewed number. It’s not only an unnecessary question (one which hasn’t appeared on the census in decades) it’s an actively disruptive one.
Thirdly, as the DOJ email revealed, the census has already been sent to the printer without the citizenship question. Presuming that’s true, Trump has no way to add it at this point.
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! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a consistent critic of this administration, couldn’t resist the urge to dunk on Trump. He pointed to the aforementioned DOJ letter and reminded the president that the deadline to make changes to the questionnaire has already passed as of yesterday. Lieu’s effortless exposing of the president’s pathetic lying tweet is sure to be salt in the wound.
Hey @realDonaldTrump, there is an email from the @TheJusticeDept yesterday confirming the #census forms are being printed without the citizenship question. Why? Because the Department told the Supreme Court yesterday was the deadline. You want them to lie again?#WednesdayWisdom https://t.co/gEbZAdS4xj
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 3, 2019