Opinion

Opinion: Justice Dept. says it’s dropping citizenship question fight; Trump says, no you’re not

President Trump Departs The White House En Route To New York City
President Trump on Wednesday contradicted his administration and says he still wants a citizenship question on the 2020 census. A federal judge in essence gave the government until Monday to make up its mind.
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

The Trump administration is absolutely bonkers – which comes as a surprise to no one at this point, but it’s remarkable how many different ways it manifests itself.

As the president finalizes plans for his moment of self-aggrandizement on the National Mall on Thursday – Tanks! Fighter jets! VIP tickets to supporters! – he took to Twitter to announce that, in fact, he was not giving up on trying to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Yet Justice Department lawyers said they were dropping the fight in an email to attorneys for the organizations that pushed the issue to the Supreme Court, which, to remind you, ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied about why such a question is necessary.

Though it looks like the federal court in Maryland overseeing that case knows exactly how reliable this administration’s word is.

The court ordered the two sides to put down in writing by Monday that the government is, indeed, dropping its push to add the question.

It’s worth noting that the government argued that it needed a fast-track decision by the Supreme Court because it had to start the printing process by July 1, though another government official testified they could push that back as late as Oct. 1.

July, October, whatever. Time and truth are fluid when you’re the mayor of “crazy town.”

Exactly what Trump has up his sleeve at this point is unknown. In fact, there’s a very good chance even he doesn’t know what he will do, and that when he reaches up his sleeve, he will find nothing.

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As we’ve all learned, nothing the president says can be believed, and no threatened or promised action can be trusted until, in fact, it has happened.

And even then, you have to leave a little margin for a post-decision re-decision, kind of like watching an airplane take off and then suddenly turn around and land.