California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of the state and its major cities over a rise in homelessness that local leaders have failed to contain.
As Breitbart News has noted, the homeless population rose 12% in Los Angeles over the last year and rose 17% in San Francisco over the last two years. The causes are complex: drug addiction, and exploitation by supposed rehabilitation facilities; the high cost of housing; generous welfare benefits; and a climate that is more attractive than in other states, among others.
Last week, during his visit to Japan for the G20 summit, President Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the rise of homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco in recent years was “disgraceful” and that his administration might have to intervene — even though that was not typically the role of the federal government.
“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,” Trump said.
“When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the President of the United States and they’re riding down a highway, they can’t be looking at that. I really believe that it hurts our country,” the president added.
“They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Francisco … So we’re looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate,” he said.
In response, the Los Angeles Times notes, both Garcetti and Newsom have been defiant.
Newsom was sarcastic in a news conference Tuesday: “It sounds like the President of the United States recognizes he has work to do on this issue,”the governor said. “He is apparently committed to some intervention, which is encouraging … I’m looking forward to the details of his plan, and obviously he’s going to have to significantly change his budget.”
Garcetti was diplomatic at first, telling a local radio show last week that he would welcome the president to visit L.A.’s streets, adding that the homelessness crisis “is not his fault, nor is it my fault, it is something that has been decades in the making.”
On Tuesday, however, Garcetti took a more aggressive tone, accusing Trump of “political cheap shots [that] don’t solve difficult problems.”
Even liberal Hollywood celebrities, however, have started to see things Trump’s way. Cher tweeted in April that if Los Angeles could not take care of its homeless, California could not take care of more migrants.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.