While aboard Air Force One on Tuesday, Trump once again addressed the issue of homelessness with reporters, saying that he is considering the creation of an “individual task force” as a possible solution to homelessness. The L.A. Times notes that Trump has used the issue of homelessness to repeatedly bash the deep-blue state of California in advance of the 2020 election.
Trump’s administration has quietly been planning a crackdown on homeless camps in The Golden State, including visiting unused government facilities to determine if they could serve as housing, reports The Washington Post.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump said as he flew to the San Francisco Peninsula in California, according to a report from the White House news pool.
“And I’m speaking to tenants — in some cases foreign people, foreign tenants — but they have where they’re tenants in buildings throughout various cities in California, and other places … where they want to leave the country. They can’t believe what’s happening,” he added.
Trump said police are getting sick of addressing homelessness problems in major cities across the country.
“We have people living in our … best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings and pay tremendous taxes, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” he said. “In many cases, they came from other countries, and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave.
“And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up,” he added. “And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”
Trump says homeless people are living in “our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings” where people pay “tremendous taxes” and want “prestige.” Says he’s speaking to tenants who “want to leave the country.” He adds: “We’ll be doing something about it.”
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 17, 2019
POTUS lamented homeless ppl who sleep in entryways of prestigious buildings,saying he was working on a plan “We have people living in our best highways, our best streets,our best entrances to buildings & pay tremendous taxes where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes…
— Rene Marsh (@Rene_MarshCNN) September 17, 2019
Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in July that officers are getting “very sick” from homeless people in cities run by Democrats and claimed that some mentally ill people “like living that way.”
Trump also claimed that the streets of New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles have become overrun by filth and homelessness starting about two years. The Washington Post’s Eli Rosenberg noted that overall homeless numbers in the United States have been relatively stable in recent years and are actually down relative to a decade ago.
The Post notes that while Trump never actually mentioned the word “homeless,” he did deliver nearly identical remarks in Iowa last month about police officers getting sick from walking the streets and did use the word.
Here’s part of their exchange:
CARLSON: You’ve come to where we are now Osaka or Tokyo, and the cities are clean. There’s no graffiti. No one going to bathroom on the street. You don’t see junkies.
TRUMP: It’s very nice, isn’t it?
CARLSON: Very different from our city.
TRUMP: Yes. Well, no, some of our cities —
CARLSON: Some of our cities. But New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, they’ve got a major problem with —
TRUMP: It’s very sad.
CARLSON: — with filth. Why is that?
TRUMP: It’s a phenomena that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful. I’m going to maybe — and I’m looking at it very seriously — we’re doing some other things that you probably noticed like some of the very important things that we’re doing now. But we’re looking at it very seriously, because you can’t do that.
You can’t have what’s happening — where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat. I mean, they’re getting actually very sick, where people are getting sick, where the people living there living in hell, too.
Trump then told Tucker Carlson that some homeless people prefer to be homeless because of “mental problems”:
TRUMP: Although some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way. In fact, perhaps they like living that way. They can’t do that.
They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities. And you have people that work in those cities. They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago.
And this is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting. They — I don’t know if they’re afraid of votes. I don’t know if they really believe that this should be taking place. But it’s a terrible thing that’s taking place. And we may be —