— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 27, 2018
President Trump may not be happy with the continued coverage of his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels (and its potentially illegal cover up), let alone Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’s apparent inability to avoid questions about it during her press briefings. Even so, her defense of his administration’s recently announced decision to add a “citizenship question” to the 2020 U.S. Census — for which the White House is already being sued by California — may have earned Sanders a few points in her favor. That’s because she falsely claimed that almost every census since 1965 has included it in some form or fashion.
“This is a question that’s been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010, when it was removed,” Sanders told the White House Press Corps on Tuesday. Ignoring the thinly veiled reference to the U.S. Census overseen by President Obama’s administration, she continued with her defense of the question’s reinstatement. “We’ve contained this question that provides data that is necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters and specifically help us better comply with the Voting Rights Act.”
Aside from several journalists, pundits, and Twitter commentators who were monitoring the press conference in real time, ABC News, The Hill, and other outlets covering Sanders’s statements were quick to highlight what she got wrong. Specifically, everyone pointed out (as initial reports on the citizenship question pointed out) that the official U.S. Census has not included a question about the census-taker’s citizenship status since 1950. Versions of the question have persisted on other census surveys like the American Community Survey, but the U.S. Census itself has not included it for almost 70 years.