Trump reveals a pillar of his morality through his comments today on the addition of a Citizenship Question on the Census.
“Justice Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it,” President Jackson once famously said. Trump, that latter-day Jackson, said today he intends to persist after a citizenship question on the upcoming census, after the addition of such a question was forbidden by the Supreme Court.
The Census Bureau has begun to print forms without the question, but The President told reporters today, he believes the question will be included in an addendum, once he receives a “positive decision.” It is unclear why he still thinks a positive decision is on the table. It is unlikely the Court will reverse its prescription on this issue, certainly not during Trump’s presidency. Precedents have bene overturned in the past, but not within the political time scales Trump imagines.
The President, still, suggest that there are “many avenues,” through which a citizenship question may be added. “We’re doing very well on that,” he said. He also expressed frustration. “Think of it. 15 to 20 billion dollars, and you’re not allowed to ask them, are you a citizen?”
The way in which this question is asked is revealing. Disregarding the judicial decision, uninterested in the lives of people at the border, or in ethics, or American values, Trump’s argument is one from incredulity. Incredulity that the central equation of the United States, as he sees it, has in this instance failed him. We put in the money, he says, and we can’t get the result: this is an aberration.
Trump believes in a republic in which money has a great deal to say. Money forgives a lot in the Trumpian worldview. Of those immigrants he’s repeatedly derided, he said today, “who could blame them? They want to get in, they want to take advantage of the economy.” Wanting to take advantage of the economy is what makes illegal immigration understandable and redeemable for the President.
These comments come a day after Trump’s “Salute to America,” military parade.