Trump news: President preparing to sign executive order keeping undocumented immigrants off census as Pentagon bans Confederate flag

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Donald Trump has insisted on reopening schools despite US cases of coronavirus continuing to soar: Getty
Donald Trump has insisted on reopening schools despite US cases of coronavirus continuing to soar: Getty

Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order that would prevent states from counting undocumented immigrants in their census, according to a Politico report confirmed by The Independent. The order could potentially undercounting significant parts of the US and depriving federal spending and congressional seats from those areas. It's likely to be challenged in court.

Unidentified federal border control officers have been deployed to Portland, Oregon in recent days to indiscriminately arrest protesters and forced them into unmarked vehicles, as Department of Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf condemned protesters "violent anarchists" while releasing a list of crimes that mainly amounted to graffiti.

Portland's mayor has demanded the president withdraw the troops, and Washington officials are outraged, liking the show of federal force to an "authoritarian" measure, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said.

The president – who has falsely and repeatedly accused his Democratic rival of endorsing efforts to "defund" police in a campaign bid to pin recent unrest on Democrats – snapped at Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview to air on Sunday after the president has pressed to prove his claims.

Pentagon officials meanwhile have banned Confederate battle flags completely from US military installations despite the president's defence of the symbol as "free speech" amid growing calls to remove the icons from public spaces.

Coronavirus infections continue to surge across the US, with daily cases Thursday reaching at least 77,255. That figure is nearly triple the daily cases discovered three weeks ago. In a White House document obtained by Centre for Public Integrity, 18 states are in the coronavirus "red zone".

Florida has seen its fourth consecutive day with more than 100 deaths, as daily cases there top 11,000. The World Health Organisation also recorded a record-high number of daily cases, as global infections near 14 million. Nearly 139,000 people in the US have died from Covid-19-related illness, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Trump administration has blocked the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention from appearing at a House committee discussing school reopening plans, as the White House pushes states to reopen within weeks despite a raging public health crisis and no clear guidance for managing outbreaks, as teachers and school staff brace for spikes in infections.

This week, the administration directed hospital systems to send crucial coronavirus reporting data to a central Washington database under the Department of Health and Human Services – not the CDC. Researchers and health officials fear that White House-controlled data will not reflect the growing crisis but become a political cudgel.

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