President Donald Trump continued to stir confusion over the 2020 census, declaring that the official word from multiple departments that the citizenship question has been dropped is “FAKE.” The president sent a tweet on Wednesday explaining that the White House is “absolutely” planning to fight to keep the controversial question in place.
“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,” he wrote.
The controversy over the citizenship question seemed to cool a bit over the past week after the Supreme Court ruled that the question could not be added under the current justification. It did, however, say that the Census Bureau could try to use a different explanation in the future to try and get the question reinstated.
Despite that, the Trump administration announced that it would not try to move forward with the question. Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, according to Fox News, that the census would be printed without the question included, suggesting that the issue was dropped.
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question,” he wrote. “My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”
After the high court’s ruling, there was little time to challenge the decision, which some took as further proof that the issue was dead.
But Trump’s tweet seems to contradict this statement. On Tuesday night, the president had tweeted that he had asked the Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, and the Justice Department to do what it could to make sure that the citizenship question was included. He didn’t, however, claim that the reports about the question being dropped were wrong.
But on Wednesday, the president appeared to change his tactic, declaring the reports from his own administration to be “fake.”
The White House’s decision to include a question on citizenship in the 2020 census has caused backlash since the idea was first announced in March 2018. Critics say that it would reduce accuracy as minority populations and migrants might refuse to answer the census out of fear that it could result in negative consequences for them.
This would mean that the allocation of federal funds could be impacted.