Visiting California, Trump pledges action on homelessness

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE on Tuesday pledged to take action to address homelessness in California, lamenting that residents are “fed up” with the crisis.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“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,” he continued. “They can’t believe what’s happening.”


Trump said he would be speaking with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after being 'extremely sick' with COVID-19 Ben Carson says he used unproven COVID-19 treatment recommended by MyPillow CEO Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine MORE about the issue while he’s in the state, but he does not currently have any public events scheduled to meet with local officials or discuss the issue further.

Trump painted a picture of decrepit cities where homeless people are driving away more affluent residents.

“We have people living in our ... best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings and ... 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,” he continued. “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. And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it,” he added.

The president has had a combative relationship with California and often holds up its two most prominent cities as examples of Democratic leadership gone wrong. Just a day earlier, at a New Mexico campaign rally, Trump blasted the sanctuary cities and environmental policies that California has promoted.

Trump has apparently made homelessness a fresh point of interest. He first broached the topic during an interview earlier this year with Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonMore conservatives break with Trump over election claims Ex-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer, BioNTech apply for vaccine authorization MORE of Fox News, referring to the issue as a new phenomenon.

The Washington Post reported last week that the Trump administration was preparing to potentially repurpose government facilities near Los Angeles to house homeless people and that officials were in the area to meet with local leaders.

The president on Tuesday mentioned the creation of an “individual task force” but did not provide any further details on what to expect. Carson is in California this week, and Trump said the HUD secretary would be handling the “housing element” of the homelessness issue.

It was unclear whether Trump would make homelessness a larger part of his own visit to the state. He spent Tuesday afternoon here at a fundraiser at a private residence that was expected to bring in $3 million.

Trump will fly to Los Angeles this evening to take part in another fundraiser, this one at the Beverley Hills home of Geoff Palmer, which will bring in an estimated $5 million.

The president will conclude his two-day stop in California on Wednesday with fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Diego.

It’s unclear if he plans to make any unscheduled stops, though the southern border will be nearby on Wednesday, and Trump may view it as an opportunity to underscore his commitment to constructing his long-desired wall.