1. Wide shot of Donald Trump walking into Rose Garden
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President:
"Are you a citizen of the United States of America? Oh gee, I'm sorry, I just can't answer that question. And that's after spending billions and billions of dollars. There used to be a time when you could answer questions like that very easily. There used to be a time when you could proudly declare I am a citizen of the United States. Now they're trying to erase the very existence of a very important word and a very important thing, citizenship."
3. Wide shot of Trump speaking
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President:
"Today I'm here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population. I stand before you to outline new steps my administration has taken to ensure that citizenship is counted so that we know how many citizens we have in the United States. Make sense."
5. Wide shot of Trump speaking
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President:
"Therefore, we are pursuing a new option to ensure a complete and timely count of the noncitizen population. Today I will be issuing an executive order to put this very plan into effect immediately. I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country. They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately."
7. Wide shot of Trump speaking
SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President:
"We will leave no stone unturned. The Census Bureau projected that using previously available records it could determine citizenship for 90 percent of our population or more. With today's executive order which eliminates longstanding obstacles to data sharing we're aiming to count everyone. Ultimately this will allow us to have an even more complete count of citizens than through asking the single question alone. It will be we think far more accurate."
President Donald Trump abandoned his controversial bid to demand citizenship details from all respondents in next year's census Thursday, instead directing federal agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.
"It is essential that we have a clear breakdown of the number of citizens and non-citizens that make up the United States population," Trump said at a Rose Garden announcement.
He insisted he was "not backing down."
His reversal comes after the Supreme Court blocked his efforts to include the citizenship question and as the government had already begun the lengthy and expensive process of printing the census questionnaire without it.
Trump had said last week that he was "very seriously" considering an executive order to try to force the question's inclusion, even though such a move would surely have drawn an immediate legal challenge.
But he said Thursday that he would instead be signing an executive order directing agencies to turn records over to the Department of Commerce.
"We're aiming to count everyone," he said.
Trump's 2016 campaign was animated by his pledge to crack down on illegal immigration, and he has tied the citizenship question to that issue, insisting the U.S. must know who is living here.