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A White House spokesman let slip something in a Fox News interview on Friday he probably didn’t mean to say.

Discussing the defeat in the Commerce Department’s effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried to argue — as President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have said — that despite all appearances, the administration was actually vindicated by the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court even ruled this question could be on there, but it was impossible to get it on in time for printing,” Gidley said.

Of course, Gidley didn’t mention the fact that the reason it’s “impossible” to put the citizenship question on the Census in time is that the court found that the administration’s first attempt to include the question violated the law. Chief Justice John Roberts struck down the Commerce Department’s plans because it provided an apparently “contrived” justification for including the question. The impossibility only became a factor because the administration was so wildly inept and deceptive; it would have had to start all over again to add the question back to the Census because it is currently legally blocked from including it. And there just isn’t enough time for redo.

“We looked at inserts, we looked at all types of options,” Gidley continued. “And 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. So I’m moving forward with this method.”

Host Bill Hemmer ignored Gidley’s claim that the president claims he’s not “beholden” to the courts and quickly moved on. While it was likely just more pseudo machismo in the face of a humiliating defeat, the claim echoed what many feared when Barr and Trump suggested they might try to include a citizenship question on the Census despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. Trump ended up directing the administration to find other methods of calculating the number of American citizens.

Since even the Census Bureau long acknowledged that including the question on the decennial survey was not the best method for counting American citizens, it seems the administration’s real purpose for including the question in the first place was not really to get a quantitative answer. Rather, it sought to discourage response rates in regions heavily populated by Hispanics and immigrant groups, thus shifting political power from Democrats to Republicans.

Watch the clip below:

IMAGE: White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley.

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