FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks next to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census, NBC News reported nbcnews.to/2XPQJ4B on Monday.
Trump retreated on Thursday from adding a contentious question on citizenship to the 2020 census, but insisted he was not giving up his fight to count how many noncitizens are in the country and ordered government agencies to mine their databases.
Although Trump has previously been frustrated with Ross, in particular over some failed trade negotiations, the 81-year-old commerce secretary has so far kept his job. Since late last year other media outlets have reported at different times that Trump was considering replacing Ross.
The Commerce Department said in a statement Monday that Ross was currently overseeing the department’s response to Hurricane Barry and noted that he had joined Trump on his trip to Wisconsin and Ohio on Friday.
Ross “will continue to work on behalf of the American people and the President’s America First agenda,” the department said.
However, NBC reported early Monday that Trump has been making calls to “allies outside the White House about replacing Ross.”
The White House declined to comment on Monday. Trump is set to have a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Late on Friday, Trump said he disagreed with the findings of a Commerce Department investigation that found uranium imports threaten to impair U.S. national security and instead ordered a 90-day review by federal agencies, saying “a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain is necessary.”
Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru, and additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and David Shepardson in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis