The absurd ways conservatives are justifying Trump’s lawless efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census
After President Donald Trump announced that he would defy the Supreme Court to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, conservative media figures rushed to defend the administration.
On June 27, the Supreme Court effectively blocked the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship status to the upcoming census, finding that it gave “contrived reasons” and demanding “genuine justifications” for the question. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, a memo from a “prominent Republican redistricting strategist” revealed that the Trump administration’s motive for adding the question may be to increase the political power of white Republicans.
But since Trump tweeted on July 3 that he would make up a new rationale to include a citizenship question in the census — possibly by an executive order — and basically admitted that the administration had been lying this whole time, Fox News and others in right-wing media have ignored the administration’s reversal and ginned up a variety of absurd justifications for adding the question.
Some conservatives misleadingly claimed the Obama administration removed a citizenship question from the 2010 census
A Fox & Friends guest falsely claimed the Obama administration “simply removed” a citizenship question from the census in 2010. But the decennial census hasn’t included a nationwide citizenship question since 1950. In 1970, the citizenship question moved to a long-form questionnaire sent to fewer than 20% of American households. In 2010, the long-form questionnaire was replaced by the annual American Community Survey, which also includes a citizenship question.
Pro-Trump blogger Jim Hoft also pushed the misleading claim in an article headlined “The 2000 US Census Asked Citizenship Question — Obama Deleted it in 2010.”
Others claimed the repeated inclusion of the word “citizens” in the 14th Amendment gives Trump justification for asking the question
A Wall Street Journal op-ed claimed that “the Constitution itself requires the collection of citizenship information” and recommended that Trump cite Section 2 of the 14th Amendment in an executive order.
Fox & Friends guest co-host Pete Hegseth also cited repeated mentions of the word “citizens” in the 14th Amendment to support Trump’s continued attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Some Fox News guests openly used partisan political justifications for including a citizenship question on the census
Fox & Friends First guest George Rodriguez said the Trump administration should add a citizenship question to “punish” congressional districts that have high numbers of undocumented immigrants.
Fox guest Katrina Pierson defended possible executive action by Trump “to force” a citizenship question on the census as a counter to a “power grab” by Democrats through immigration.
And some Fox figures didn’t even try to find a real legal argument for adding a citizenship question
Fox prime-time host Laura Ingraham simply pointed to Canada’s inclusion of a citizenship question on its census to justify Trump’s attempted reversal.
Fox host Steve Hilton: “So what” if the Trump administration lied about why it wanted to include a citizenship question?