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Trump promises he’ll do “something” about homeless people bothering rich Californians

Trump promises he’ll do “something” about homeless people bothering rich Californians

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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.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said that “We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening… In many cases, [rich people] 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.”

He went on to complain that the homeless were living on 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. The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up. We’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Original reporting by Philip Rucker and Jeff Stein at the Washington Post.

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