There has been a lot of scrutiny over plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census and the political motivations behind doing so. All that aside, however, U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out a very basic question of the legality of how the process of adding such a question has gone down, one that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross seems not to understand—or, at least, doesn’t want to answer.
Ross appeared before the House Oversight and Reform Committee yesterday to testify about preparations for the census and found that, with the new Democrat-controlled House, the committee may actually provide some oversight.
When Rep. Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that a report required by law for the addition of a new question had not been filed to Congress in the case of the citizenship question, Ross tried to dodge by pointing out that she was out of time, but that won’t fly with Rep. Elijah Cummings, now the chair of the committee.
Cummings insisted that Ross answer the question (you can watch that in all of its glory right here), and later mocked him over his lawyers becoming visibly flustered that he was made to answer the question, since the only defense they really had was the clock at that point:
the whole thing is much longer, but here’s @AOC just absolutely pantsing wilbur ross. he tries to say she’s out of time so he can’t answer why his office broke the law. then @RepCummings says nah son, go ahead and answer and that sends his lawyers into a tizzy and 😆😂🤣😆 pic.twitter.com/eBowM32ANY
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 14, 2019
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows even tried to jump in at one point, acting all flustered like Ocasio-Cortez was talking nonsense and hadn’t made clear exactly what statute she was referring to, which she then gladly did. He also tried to argue that reports had been submitted, even though Ocasio-Cortez knew that and was asking about one that hadn’t.
Unsurprisingly, Meadows seemed to want to defend the Trump administration’s addition of the citizenship question whether he was actually right or not, but Republicans are having a harder time getting away with that nonsense in the new House.
Ocasio-Cortez also demonstrated that Ross’s insistence that the addition of the question wasn’t influenced by Trump lackeys Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach, and of the reason behind the question, didn’t exactly seem believable, and that there was documented proof that his stated “recollection” of his contact with Kobach was inaccurate. The technicality of the reports aside, she pretty effectively tore down the entire notion of the motivation behind the citizenship question.
She later celebrated her performance and mocked those who try to tear her down and portray her as incompetent. There’s been plenty of that to go around, with conservative media desperately trying to discredit her at every turn, resulting in some embarrassingly bad takes. Honestly, if she’s unqualified for the House, then her Republican opponents aren’t even qualified to get her coffee.
(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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