Watch: Trump speaks at census event in Rose Garden


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President Donald Trump on Thursday is slated to announce a new executive action related to his administration's ongoing fight to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census.

Despite Trump's insistence last week that his White House was not dropping its quest to add the question to the census, an administration official told NBC News ahead of the Rose Garden event Thursday afternoon that Trump would direct the Commerce Department to acquire the data by other means.

A Justice Department spokeswoman told NBC that Attorney General William Barr would be attending the census event.

That department's efforts to add the question to the constitutionally mandated survey had been kneecapped last month, when the Supreme Court effectively blocked the question from appearing in the census by sending the lawsuit back down to a lower court.

Trump's tweet that he was "absolutely moving forward" on the question threw off his own government lawyers, who had told reporters that the census would indeed be printed without the citizenship question.

Two federal judges overseeing other administration lawsuits about the census question dealt further blows to Trump's agenda in recent days, by rejecting requests to swap lawyers in the cases.

The Rose Garden announcement follows a "social media summit" at the White House, where Trump hosted and praised an array of pro-Trump online personalities.

"The crap you think of is unbelievable," he told the crowd at one point, drawing hearty laughter and a round of applause. The event also included a handful of Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

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