It’s not unusual for Donald Trump to use his social-media accounts to promote his television appearances, but on Friday morning, the president did something a little unusual: he encouraged his followers to watch Rush Limbaugh appear on Fox News. In case that weren’t quite odd enough, Trump celebrated the interview a half-hour later, insisting the far-right radio host had done a “great job.”
Fact-checkers would disagree. Limbaugh’s appearance came on the heels of the president’s embarrassing retreat on his efforts to change the 2020 census, and the radio personality did his best to direct conservative disappointment in a new direction.
“The real controversy here is who took the citizenship question off of the census, and why?” Limbaugh said. “Why is it controversy wanting to know who among us happens to be a citizen and who isn’t? Why is that controversial? It would seem to me that this kind of attention should have been asked when somebody in the Obama regime decided to get rid of it.”
This came the same week Kellyanne Conway, a prominent White House aide and Trump loyalty, also appeared on “Fox & Friends” and said, “Why can’t we just ask the question the way it was asked for 50 years before the Obama administration yanked it out of there?”
In case you get an angry email from your weird uncle who watches Fox all day, let’s take a look at the latest piece from the Associated Press.
The Obama administration did not pull the citizenship question from the census after 50 years. The Census Bureau hasn’t included a citizenship question in its once-a-decade survey sent to all U.S. households since 1950.
From 1970 to 2000, the question was included only in the long-form section of the census survey, which is sent to a portion of U.S. households. After 2000, the question has been asked each year since 2005 on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, a separate poll also sent to a sample of U.S. households.
The Census Bureau made the switch to that survey in 2005 as a replacement to the long-form supplement, prior to the Obama administration. As a result of that switch, no long form was sent as part of the next-held census in 2010, when Obama was in office. Instead, the citizenship question was asked as part of the 2010 ACS survey.
Last year, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to get the ball rolling on this, blaming Barack Obama and his team for having removed a citizenship question from the 2010 census.
I’ll look forward to each of the folks who peddled this claim issuing public corrections.