President Donald Trump, by most people’s accounts, was readying himself to sign an executive order on Thursday that would have placed a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census form.
But it wasn’t meant to be — and now some conservatives are voicing dissatisfaction with his decision to drop the matter.
Trump insisted that, in not using his executive power to force the matter forward, he wasn’t moving away from his stated goals, according to reporting from CNN.
“We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the U.S. population,” Trump said.
But privately, many conservatives said they felt as if they had put in a lot of effort in support of Trump’s insistence that the question be included, only to get nothing in return in terms of a legitimate fight from him.
“What was the dance…all about if this was going to be the end result?” one conservative voice said about the whole ordeal, according to Axios.
Another said it was a “total waste of everyone’s time,” adding that it’s “certainly going to give people pause the next time one has to decide how far to stick one’s neck out.”
Sources familiar with the situation say the president’s Supreme Court adviser Leonard Leo and other Federalist Society stalwarts were shocked and floored by how “weak” the decision was. https://t.co/5PsLIqzQez
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) July 12, 2019
A Republican strategist told the publication that Trump’s decision to end the fight felt like a “punch in the gut.”
Late last month, the Supreme Court told the Trump administration that it could not include the citizenship question on the census because there wasn’t a justification for doing so, the Washington Post reported. It sent the matter back to lower courts to determine if a reason could be argued, which the administration has yet to successfully argue.
The denial by the Supreme Court, though technically temporary, was seen in effect as tabling the matter, making it unlikely to be resolved by the time printing of the forms was set to happen.