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Trump expected to order citizenship question added to the census

Allan Smith and Hallie Jackson
President Donald J. Trump listens during a meeting on Fentanyl and the opioid epidemic in the Oval Office at the White House on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Thursday that he is taking executive action to add a citizenship question to the census, according to an administration official.

Trump tweeted that he will hold a press conference in the afternoon to discuss his latest efforts at including the citizenship question as part of the census.

"The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today," Trump tweeted. "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."

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NBC News confirmed that at the news conference the president is expected to announce his executive action to add the question.

Last week, Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn when asked if he would issue an executive order: "We're thinking about doing that."

"It's one of the ways," he added. "We have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways and we're thinking about doing it very seriously."

The news conference planned for Thursday comes as two federal judges refused to let the Department of Justice withdraw lawyers from a lawsuit over the Trump administration's plans to put the citizenship question on the 2020 census form.

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The administration is currently printing census forms without the question after the Supreme Court ruled late last month that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did not provide an adequate reason for why the question was necessary.

Opponents have said the question is an effort to reduce the number of responses in immigrant communities and diminish their power.

Meanwhile, the press conference comes at the conclusion of another event that's drawn considerable attention in recent days, the president's planned social media summit. Trump is set to host several right-wing internet personalities to "share how they have been affected by bias online" as Republicans for moths have blasted social media companies for what they see as unfair censorship of their views online.

Trump went on an extended tweet storm Thursday as he hyped the event.

"A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies," he wrote. "We will not let them get away with it much longer. The Fake News Media will also be there, but for a limited period."

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