Trump administration scrambles to save citizenship question on census

But Trump, in tweets Wednesday and Thursday, said he was not giving up. He tweeted Thursday morning: “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”

The reversal came after Trump talked by phone with conservative allies who urged him not to give up the fight, according to a senior White House official and a Trump adviser, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Trump was furious and thought the Commerce Department and the Justice Department — which has been arguing the case — had given up the fight too easily. He complained about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.,who he said he thinks is lined up against him, the adviser and senior officials said. Trump also complained about Ross.

Before Trump’s tweets plunged their week into chaos, Justice officials thought the president understood how few legal options remained, according to people familiar with the matter. They had earlier told the White House that the case was a dead-end and that pursuing it would be a waste of time.