On Saturday morning, President Trump took to Twitter to complain about the “tremendous” homeless problems facing the states of California and New York, claiming that the crisis is setting “records” and accusing the governors of being unable to handle the situation.
In an effort to promote this preposterous narrative that semi-omnipotent Trump is capable of solving any crisis, the President told Governors Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo that they should call and bend the knee to Trump in exchange for his help, which would be “easy” if they had “competence.”
California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems. They are setting records! If their Governors can’t handle the situation, which they should be able to do very easily, they must call and “politely” ask for help. Would be so easy with competence!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2019
The president’s interest in this issue appears to stem from a letter from the Central Park South Civic Association to the President, which ironically is fighting the creation of a homeless shelter on the street known as “Billionaire’s Row.” They claim that the proposed shelter would violate safety standards, but since they also cite their concerns about “crime and loitering” it’s pretty clear they just don’t want to have homeless people besmirching their fancy neighborhood.
It should be clear to everyone that the idea that President Trump cares one bit about homelessness is absolutely laughable. Before winning the electoral college, Trump was infamous for proposing temporarily sheltering homeless people in his building to drive out rent-stabilized tenants. After becoming President, he seized on the issue of homelessness as a way to trash California in revenge for the barrage of legal challenges the state brought against him and spearheading the general resistance to his administration.
Earlier this year, in a quickly forgotten olive branch to California’s megawealthy donors, the President vowed to “look at and do something” about homelessness — which of course simply translated to “make sure you don’t have to look at the homeless anymore.”
The Washington Post reported that the Trump team had “quietly been eyeing sweeping unilateral action on homelessness, with top government officials from multiple agencies touring California this month to formulate a strategy,” considering razing homeless camps, creating new facilities or refurbishing existing government facilities.
As usual, nothing ever came of it.
The avarice and casual cruelty of America’s landlords and real estate developers — men like Donald Trump — are the primary drivers of the homeless crisis in the United States. For him to suddenly pretend to care about the homeless is one of the most transparently cynical and insincere things Trump has ever done.
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.