Trump/Map USA
© Human Events
President Donald Trump has declared he is "not backing down" from his effort to determine the citizenship status of the US population, promising to issue an executive order to put an alternative plan into effect immediately.

Complaining about "meritless litigation" that would have prevented the government from adding a citizenship question to the US Census on time, Trump ordered "every department and agency in the federal government " to provide the Department of Commerce with records on the number of citizens and non citizens in the country.

"They must furnish all legally available records in their possession immediately. We will leave no stone unturned," Trump declared, adding that the Census Bureau had determined that, using previously available records, it could determine the number of citizens and noncitizens with 90 percent accuracy - more accurate, he claimed, than adding a citizenship question to the census itself.

"We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population. We must have a reliable count of how many citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens are in our country."

Attorney General William Barr elaborated on the rationale behind the order, explaining that the obstacle to adding a citizenship question was "a logistical impediment, not a legal one."

He explained that while the Commerce Department could have taken the case back to the Supreme Court and won, the impenetrable thicket of legal cases surrounding the matter meant it would have taken prohibitively long to wind through the system. "There is simply no way to litigate these issues ... in time to implement any new decision without jeopardizing our ability to carry out the census."

Barr dismissed the "rank speculation" of the media, which in the "hysterical mode of the day" had claimed Trump would add the census question by "executive fiat."

The pair left without taking any questions, leaving the media to speculate as the official narrative congealed around variations of "Trump caved."

Twitter reactions were generally positive, with both "sides" appearing convinced they had secured a victory.