President Trump arrived in California on Tuesday for a fundraising tour through Silicon Valley and immediately caused a stir with a series of deeply disturbing remarks about the state’s substantial homeless population.
In an obvious olive branch to the state’s monied elites, Trump played on the dehumanizing revulsion that the wealthy feel for the homeless, discussing them as if they were vermin and showing more concern for property values than he did for the lives of the 130,000 people who live on California’s streets.
The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is “quietly been eyeing sweeping unilateral action on homelessness, with top government officials from multiple agencies touring California this month to formulate a strategy.” They are considering razing homeless camps, creating new facilities or refurbishing existing government facilities.
For the record, it isn’t clear if he has the jurisdiction to do any of this at all, or if this is just another one of his many plans that never get past the soundbyte stage.
While President Trump and California rarely see eye to eye — the Democratic-run state government has been one of the president’s biggest headaches since the beginning of his administration — Trump clearly thinks he can score some points by appealing to the wealthy’s hatred for society’s most vulnerable and neglected members, and sadly he’s probably right.
California is home to 157 billionaires. If they really wanted to, they could easily pay for housing for every one of the homeless in California and for mental health treatment for all those who needed it, but the sad fact of the matter is they would rather watch the tents be torn down and the homeless left to suffer in indignity and grime than lift a finger to help — or pay a single cent more in tax, which is why the president is expected to raise $15 million for the Trump Victory Fund this trip.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.