President Donald Trump, who is literally on the verge of ignoring a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to not include a citizenship question on the Census, on Friday told reporters the "number one" reason he wants to add the question is for the drawing of congressional districts.
Experts say he just showed his hand – or, as some said, "gave up the game."
If President Trump is trying to include a citizenship question for the drawing of congressional districts, he might be surprised to know that the U.S. Constitution makes clear the Census must count everyone living in the United States – not just citizens. And congressional districts are to be based on the number of people living in an area – not just the number of U.S. citizens.
"If you look at the history of our country, it's almost always been asked," Trump said Friday of the citizenship question on the decennial census.
That's false. It has been asked on small, annual updates, but for many decades not on the constitutionally-mandated Census.
"We're fighting very hard against the system," Trump said, telegraphing to his base that considers him an outsider fighting for white conservatives.
"You need it for many reasons, number one for Congress, for districting," Trump said, which is entirely false – unless his goal is to undercount minorities and non-citizen immigrants.
Watch (begins at the 14:10 mark):
WATCH: Pres. Trump comments about battle over census and more before departing for Bedminster, NJ. https://t.co/V2rtKCMNfP— ABC News (@ABC News) 1562339937.0
Here's what experts are saying:
U.S. Supreme Court reporter for Reuters:
Trump on Friday said the "number one" reason for adding a citizenship question was for the drawing of electoral dis… https://t.co/1zHDlrGlNh— Lawrence Hurley (@Lawrence Hurley) 1562342899.0
Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times and MSNBC analyst:
Trump says citizenship has to be asked on the census to determine congressional districts. Actually, districts are… https://t.co/TwHooqCHvI— Peter Baker (@Peter Baker) 1562341080.0
Pleased @realDonaldTrump has made it even harder now to include the citizenship question on #Census2020. Drawing co… https://t.co/WfWg0Erxm8— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu) 1562341861.0
Senior political reporter for The Washington Post:
ThinkProgress and Popular Information founder:
This really gives up the game. Redrawing Congressional maps based on citizenship only was exactly why Thomas Hofel… https://t.co/LTTBjgh3Zh— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1562342411.0
Senator Dianne Feinstein's press secretary:
Giving away the entire game. He wants to draw congressional districts based on citizen population and guarantee the… https://t.co/sUIQhsf6em— Ashley Schapitl (@Ashley Schapitl) 1562343529.0
Senior campaigns and elections editor, chief polling analyst for Politico:
Drawing voting districts based on citizen (not resident) counts was, according to published reports, what the late… https://t.co/MPPOnENQQJ— Steven Shepard (@Steven Shepard) 1562341811.0