It's official - Trump dropped a fight to put a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 census, but after saying he is "pursuing another option" on the citizenship front, he sid he would sign an executive order directing every federal agency to provide the Commerce Department all records and "all requested efforts" that could detail how many citizens and non-citizens live in the United States.
Trump said "We Will Leave No Stone Unturned" vowing that "we are aiming to count everyone."
Afraid of the pushback he would receive from conservatives for folding, the president clarified that "we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the U.S. population" and said that the effort to include the citizenship question on the 2020 census was "delayed by meritless litigation."
It was unclear if Trump changed his mind during the day, as it was reported earlier that Trump was expected to announce an executive order order that the question be asked on the census.
Attorney General William Barr also noted at a press conference that the question will not be asked on the census, acknowledging that a recent Supreme Court ruling had made doing so difficult if not impossible, and adding that he had never considered adding the question without judicial review and that he had no time to litigate the citizenship question. Instead, the order will ensure an accurate understanding of citizens in the US.
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Update 2: Now that Thursday's social media summit has come and gone, it's time for the day's main event: Trump's press conference about the citizenship question.
The latest reports suggest Trump is going to drop his efforts to get the question reinstated, and will instead focus on a workaround (more details below).
Watch the news conference live here:
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Update: Contrary to earlier reports claiming that Trump is planning to press ahead with plans to issue an executive order reinstating the citizenship question on the census, ABC News is now reporting that Trump is preparing to announce that he's backing down from trying to get the citizenship question reinstated on the ballot.
The conflicting reports suggest that Trump is still vacillating at the last minute, meaning the president could change his mind by the time he takes the podium at 5 pm ET (or, more likely, some time after 5 pm ET).
In what appears to be a compromise, Trump will instead issue an executive order instructing the Commerce Department to survey the American public on the question through "other means".
As ABC News explains, whatever Trump decides, it will bring to a close weeks of confusion and wrangling over Trump's insistence that the question would be added to the Census, even after the Supreme Court shot that down. It will be up to AG William Barr to decide the fate of the three court battles the administration is presently fighting over the question.
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As many probably suspected after President Trump said he'd be holding a news conference Thursday about his administration's response to a string of unfavorable court rulings regarding reintroducing the citizenship question to the census, the president is reportedly planning to issue an executive order to reinstate the question, as he had previously promised to do.
With only months to go until the census begins, and with the census forms already being printed without the question, Trump is carrying on what has become a pet issue for his administration.
The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today. Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)! At its conclusion, we will all go to the beautiful Rose Garden for a News Conference on the Census and Citizenship.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019
NBC News reports that Trump will issue an executive order to add the citizenship question to the census. Trump told reporters on the South Lawn last week that he was "thinking about doing that."
"It's one of the ways," he added. "We have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways and we're thinking about doing it very seriously."
This despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled late last month that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross didn't provide an adequate reason for why it was necessary to include the question (despite the fact that the question had been included on census forms before President Obama took it off).
The executive order also comes as two federal judges refused to let the DoJ assign a new legal team to the lawsuit that blocked the US from adding the question.
Of course, liberals - who believe the question is an attempt to cow illegals into not participating in the Census - are going to be furious, and more lawsuits to block Trump's order are almost guaranteed.