The government had begun printing census forms, the Ministry of Commerce had publicly announced its legal handover, and Justice Department attorneys had their cases brought to justice. But President Trump was not ready to give up the fight.
With a tweet that upset much of his government on the July 4th holiday, Trump decided to unilaterally revive the government's attempt to add a citizenship issue to the 2020 census.
It's a step that fits into a long pattern in which Trump goes on the mat – and occasionally overrides his own administration ̵
"We are fighting very hard against the system, which is a very difficult system, but we will make a decision," Trump told reporters on Friday, adding that he "thought about" adopting an executive order Adding the Citizenship Question to the Census Forms Friday that it would reverse its plans and pursue the citizenship issue faces long-term prospects. The Supreme Court last week prevented the government from asking for citizenship after declaring that the government's rationale was "invented" census, Trump's government publicly decided to drop its efforts to add the citizenship issue. On Tuesday, Trade Minister Wilbur Ross, who oversees the ten-year numbers of the population, announced that the administration had ceased its efforts and started to print the census forms without the citizenship question.
But the appearance of premature surrender – and the concomitant conservative counter-reaction – was enough to get Trump to intervene.
"The news about the Ministry of Commerce dropped his search Adding the citizenship question to the census is wrong or, in other words, FAKE! "Trump tweeted on Wednesday. "Because of the importance of answering this question, we are absolutely on the right track."
In similar situations, the President has repeatedly come to the brink of short-term setbacks and has given the impression that he is saving up after the congressional negotiators Trump agreed in December to support a bipartisan spending treaty to maintain the government's openness without providing funds to build new frontier barriers, Trump was dismissed.
A 35-day partial government shutdown followed, with the president and legislator implicated in a stalemate-funding stalemate. Trump used the battle to try to bolster his political outlook and ran digital ads to inform voters about his tough position. The White House on Friday. (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)
When Trump finally agreed to issue and sign a statement of expenditures, he linked his surrender with the announcement of a national emergency declaration that would allow the government to reuse existing funds for construction The Wall.
Several federal judges have since ruled against Trump's efforts to spend taxpayers' money without congressional approval.
Despite the legal setbacks, the president can still tell voters that he is fighting for their priorities as hard as possible, said Doug Heye, former spokesman for the leadership of the Republican House and the Republican National Committee.
"For a lot of the base, activity is performance," he said. "Demonstrating the willingness to fight is not only so important, but also more important to a large part of the base than a coherent strategy to win."
For Trump, it is more personally offensive to quietly lose on certain issues than to go down with a dramatic fight, said Tim O'Brien, author of Trump's biography, "TrumpNation: The Art of Being Donald."
"This is a president who always thinks theatrically – he does not think strategically," he said. "The second problem perceived or portrayed as trump lost is almost a guarantee that he will change course quickly."
For a president who promised voters they would be tired of winning, Trump has shown no hesitation in losing legal battles. Courts have stifled his attempts to steal money from protected areas, block congressional investigations and overturn several environmental regulations.
Overall, federal judges have ruled more than 60 times against the Trump administration over the past two years. years.
Trump usually trumps negative judgments against him, often with the aim of reaching the Supreme Court, a strategy he described in detail after his February national emergency declaration.
and we will then be sued and they will sue us in the ninth circle, "he said at a February Rose press conference. "We may make a bad decision, and then we will make another bad decision, and then we will end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we will get a fair shake and we will win in the Supreme Court.
In the litigation over the census, the Supreme Court did not serve as Trump's buffer against the lower courts. Opponents have argued before federal judges that the issue of citizenship would lead to the inferiority of millions of people who fear that a non-citizen is part of their household. Hispanics would be disproportionately affected.
Roberts stated in his statement that the declared purpose of the Department of Commerce was no longer to add to the question that it was requested by the Department of Justice to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.
] But where his lawyers saw defeat, Trump saw an invitation to try again.
"I have great respect for Justice Roberts, but he did not like it, but he said, 'Come back,' said Trump Reporter Friday at the White House. In essence, he said: "Come back."
Heye said Trump will not hesitate to use negative court judgments to his political advantage by posing as the victim of an unfair system.
Trump's base, everything he does, underpins his central argument that the system is being manipulated, "he said. "If the court decides in his favor, it will be a great victory for Trump, and if the court decides against him, Trump can say," So rigged is the system against you. "He can still win or lose this argument."
While the grass-roots initial strategy has helped solidify Trumps, it's not clear whether the president's actions harm his electoral outlook more than good.
But Trump's willingness to cross the border is for his priorities Fighting could also cause chaos among some moderate voters.
In terms of trade, Trump revived a trade dispute with China with new tariffs last year, after his finance minister publicly stated that the US "halted the trade war on ice." Trump banned transgender troops from military service and announced they would withdraw troops from Syria without the buy-in of the then defense minister He received Jim Mattis, who abruptly stepped down in December after the decision.
And in immigration, he threatened to close the southern border, impose tariffs on Mexico and reintroduce family divisions.
Allegations that he is politicizing the census or triggering a potential constitutional crisis by contradicting a judge's ruling to add a citizenship issue may reinforce the feeling of disruption to the White House that deters voters, O & # 39; Brien said.
"Immigration is a topic in which there is an overwhelmingly broad public consensus," he said. "People support immigration as long as it is managed well, and they do not want it to be politicized."