Trump said early Thursday on Twitter that he would be holding a news conference “on the Census and Citizenship” but didn’t disclose further details.
Two senior administration officials told Fin Gomez of CBS, a former Fox News reporter, that Trump will announce executive action to add the citizenship question to the census.
NBC News also reported that it “confirmed that at the news conference the president is expected to announce his executive action to add the question” and USA Today cited two administration officials as saying Trump would order the question to be placed on the census.
Trump told reporters on July 5 that he was mulling issuing an executive order, saying “four or five” options were on the table.
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
Two senior administration officials confirm that the president is planning on announcing Executive Action today to add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census. @CBSNews
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) July 11, 2019
The question asking respondents whether they are American citizens has provoked a fierce battle between the Trump administration and some of its most vocal opponents, with critics arguing that the question would lead to some people not responding to the census. The issue went before the Supreme Court in June and a 5-4 ruling saw the court inform the administration its rationale for adding the question wasn’t sufficient.
Trump has repeatedly railed at people against adding the question, saying it’s a simple one. The citizenship question was on the decennial census before being removed in the 1950s.
Top officials and some legal experts have said Trump has the authority to place the question on the census even with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Attorney General William Barr said on July 8 that the administration was going to take action soon.
“I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” the attorney general told the left-leaning Associated Press after touring a federal prison in South Carolina. He said he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
A former federal judge was among others saying Trump could add the question.
Trump explained why he wanted the question on the census earlier this month.
“You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress, you need it for Congress, for districting, you need it for appropriations, where are the funds going. How many people are there? Are they citizens, are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” Trump told reporters in Washington.
“We have a number of different avenues. We could use all of them or one. We’re doing very well on that. We’re spending 15 to 20 billion dollars on a census. We’re doing everything. We’re finding out everything about everybody. Think of it: 15 to 20 billion dollars, and you’re not allowed to ask them, are you a citizen?” he added.
“And by the way, if you look at the history of our country, it’s almost always been asked. So we’re fighting very hard against the system, that’s a very difficult system but we’ll make a decision. The attorney general is working on that right now.”