Americans across the country were concerned when news broke that President Donald Trump was seeking options for including a citizenship question to the 2020 United States Census through an executive action, despite a Supreme Court ruling blocking the question's inclusion.
Even for Trump, openly defying a Supreme Court ruling seemed unbelievable.
At a Thursday press conference announcing a retreat in the push to add the question, Attorney General William Barr said:
Some in the media have been suggesting, in the hysterical mode of the day, that the administration has been planning to add the citizenship question to the census by executive fiat without regard to contrary court orders or what the Supreme Court might say. This has been based on rank speculation and nothing more."
The following day, in an interview with Fox News, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley contradicted Barr's words with an unfortunate (Freudian?) slip.
On Fox News, WH spox @hogangidley45 said the quiet part loud about Trump's citizenship question executive order: "T… https://t.co/pKgHvSz2mV— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1562955200.0
"The president said, 'Listen, I'm not going to be beholden to courts anymore. I have the legal authority to find out this information, the American people deserve to know it, and so I'm moving forward with this method.'"
Host Bill Hemmer promptly moved on, but people on Twitter weren't about to let it go.
@atrupar @ReichlinMelnick @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer "I'm not going to be beholden to our Constitution anymore."— robbrie (@robbrie)1562955618.0
@atrupar @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer Right before “I have the legal authority to find out this information.”— gweezus (@gweezus)1562955769.0
@atrupar @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer The GOP in 2019. A gameshow host eliminates a branch of government. No greater threat to democracy.— Radioactive Dinosaur (@Radioactive Dinosaur)1562955882.0
@atrupar @MattGertz @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer WH spox @hogangidley45: "The president said, 'Listen, I'm not going… https://t.co/FFPL05KEHK— Jude Nagurney Camwell (@Jude Nagurney Camwell)1562955966.0
Many criticized anchor Bill Hemmer for not challenging Gidley, or at least asking him for clarification.
@atrupar @MrJonCryer @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer Way to go Bill- great journalism.....NOT!— JCEquality (@JCEquality)1562955758.0
@atrupar @MrJonCryer @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer He didn't follow up because he's afraid to step on a land mine...— Rosanna C (@Rosanna C)1562955394.0
@atrupar @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer @FoxNews you let this go? This is not a dictatorship quite yet. Unbelievable!— Kathy Buckley (@Kathy Buckley)1562957478.0
But people were still pretty sure what Gidley—and his boss—meant.
@atrupar @MattGertz @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer So...he is saying that @realDonaldTrump believes he is above the law.— primetime (@primetime)1562957926.0
@atrupar @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer for too long we have been held down by the so-called "Law"— Eggcellent Bacon (@Eggcellent Bacon)1562957728.0
@atrupar @hogangidley45 @BillHemmer Courts aka the law— DPACE (@DPACE)1562957656.0