President Donald Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a new interview that officers are getting “very sick” from homeless people in cities run by Democrats and claimed that some mentally ill people “like living that way.”
Trump also claimed that the streets of New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles have become overrun by filth and homelessness starting about two years.
The Washington Post’s Eli Rosenberg noted that overall homeless numbers in the United States have been relatively stable in recent years and are actually down relative to a decade ago.
Here’s part of their exchange:
CARLSON: You’ve come to where we are now Osaka or Tokyo, and the cities are clean. There’s no graffiti. No one going to bathroom on the street. You don’t see junkies.
TRUMP: It’s very nice, isn’t it?
CARLSON: Very different from our city.
TRUMP: Yes. Well, no, some of our cities —
CARLSON: Some of our cities. But New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, they’ve got a major problem with —
TRUMP: It’s very sad.
CARLSON: — with filth. Why is that?
TRUMP: It’s a phenomena that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful. I’m going to maybe — and I’m looking at it very seriously — we’re doing some other things that you probably noticed like some of the very important things that we’re doing now. But we’re looking at it very seriously, because you can’t do that.
You can’t have what’s happening — where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat. I mean, they’re getting actually very sick, where people are getting sick, where the people living there living in hell, too.
The Post notes that while Trump never actually mentioned the word “homeless,” he did deliver nearly identical remarks in Iowa last month about police officers getting sick from walking the streets and did use the word.
Trump then told Tucker Carlson that some homeless people prefer to be homeless because of “mental problems”:
TRUMP: Although some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way. In fact, perhaps they like living that way. They can’t do that.
They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities. And you have people that work in those cities. They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago.
And this is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting. They — I don’t know if they’re afraid of votes. I don’t know if they really believe that this should be taking place. But it’s a terrible thing that’s taking place. And we may be —
Trump then claimed to have fixed D.C.’s growing homeless problem when he “first became president:”
TRUMP: You know, I had a situation when I first became president, we had certain areas of Washington, D.C. where that was starting to happen, and I ended it very quickly. I said, “You can’t do that.” When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the president of the United States and they’re riding down a highway, they can’t be looking at that. I really believe that it hurts our country.
They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Francisco, I own property in San Francisco, so I don’t care except it was so beautiful. And now areas that you used to think as being, you know, really something very special, you take a look at what’s going on with San Francisco, it’s terrible.
So we’re looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate. Now, we have to take the people and do something. We have to do something.
Our immigration laws are a disgrace and the Democrats can get together with the Republicans and solve the problem quickly. One meeting. Democrats in California even voted to give free health care to illegal aliens instead of helping homeless Americans in Democrat run cities.
The Post notes: “As to what he’s actually done about it personally? It’s not clear. Homeless numbers in the D.C. area are the lowest since 2001, according to one study. But they had been dropping before Trump came into office, including a sharp drop in 2016, Barack Obama’s final year as president.”