President Donald Trump vowed not to let Democratic-run California cities “destroy themselves” over the rampant homelessness that is plaguing them.
The president suggested the creation of an “individual task force” to address the problem in California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, speaking to reporters as he traveled to the Golden State for a series of fundraisers.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump told reporters Tuesday aboard Air Force One, Fox News reported.
“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, noting that he would be speaking to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson about the issue.
Carson is expected to meet with Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore on Wednesday to discuss the problem which has disrupted investors in the cities and created concerns about diseases spreading in areas with temporary shelters.
“We have people living in our … best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings … where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” Trump 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.”
Los Angeles saw a recent outbreak of Typhus that had officials and residents concerned as unsanitary conditions at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Division station caused personnel to demand action amid threats to transfer to other locations.
“Our policemen that are on the beat are getting sick. They’re actually sick,” Trump said. “They’re going to the hospital. We can’t let that happen.”
The Council of Economic Advisors’ report released this week suggested deregulating the housing market in order to make more apartments and homes available. It also pointed to the double-edged sword of homeless shelters which, while designed to help the homeless population, sometimes work to exacerbate the problem.
“While shelters play an extremely important role in bringing some people off the streets, it also brings in people who would otherwise be housed, thus increasing total homelessness,” the report stated.
Though the president didn’t specify what his plans were on his way to the two-day fundraising trip to California, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that a “crackdown” is being planned by the White House. That could involve removing the homeless population from the streets and moving them into new government-backed facilities, but the Post added that “it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use.”