President Donald Trump on Wednesday called news reports that the Commerce Department would drop its plans to ask people if they are U.S. citizens on the 2020 census “fake.”
Trump’s claim came a day after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and a Justice Department lawyer said that the Census Bureau is in the process of printing the census questionnaire without the citizenship question.
The Supreme Court last week in a decision had effectively blocked the question being added to the 2020 census questionnaire, ordering the case challenging the question to be reconsidered by a lower court.
But Trump, in a tweet Wednesday, said, “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,” Trump wrote.
Trump’s use of the word “quest” echoed its use by The New York Times on Tuesday in its lead paragraph of a story that said the Trump administration, “in a dramatic about-face, abandoned its question to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.”
CNBC has reached out to the White House and the Commerce Department for comment on Trump’s tweet.
On Tuesday, Ross, in a statement had said, “I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.”
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question. My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census,” Ross said.
Also Tuesday, a Department of Justice lawyer, in an email to legal challengers of the citizenship question, wrote, “”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.”