During a Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson, President Donald Trump lamented about the issue of homelessness in the United States, noting the stark contrast between how many American cities differed from what he had seen in Osaka, Japan, during the G20 Summit.
Carlson asked Trump why some American cities have “major problems with filth.” Trump responded with a curious answer about how the problem is a relatively new one, The Daily Beast reported.
“It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful. I’m going to maybe — I am looking at it very seriously,” Trump said.
The president also made claims that police officers were getting sick from homeless people being on the streets, and that he had supposedly cleaned up the streets of the nation’s capital since he took office.
Donald Trump says that homelessness didn't exist until 2 years ago and also that police officers get sick just by walking near homeless people pic.twitter.com/QhwY2U3LB3
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) July 2, 2019
In actuality, homelessness, while still a huge problem in the U.S., has been on the decline for more than the last decade, save for the two years of small increases that have occurred under Trump’s watch.
In 2007, according to statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were around 647,258 individuals who were classified as homeless. That number dropped by 15 percent nine years later. Since that time, however, the number of homeless Americans has increased by a modest 0.53 percent.
Users on Twitter were fast to react to Trump’s statements, pointing out that it seemed like he was taking credit for the rise in homelessness, as well as taking note of the way in which the president may have demeaned people who are facing real hardships in their lives.
This Trump answer involves musings about people with mental illnesses, a suggestion he cleansed DC streets so foreign leaders wouldn't have to see unsightly homeless people, and a suggestion he might "intercede" to rid other cities of "that whole thing." https://t.co/KYOa7WylsZ
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 2, 2019
Donald Trump just said homelessness started two years ago and everyone on both sides thinks this is normal for different reasons. https://t.co/yv5l0fOYfP
— Zach Heltzel (@zachheltzel) July 2, 2019
Ever notice how trump is increasingly befuddled when he speaks, like he's just dragging a fork through word salad?
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) July 2, 2019
Trump's brain is so broken and he's so obsessed with taking credit for everything, he just claimed homelessness started two years ago pic.twitter.com/gS4isU1FOb
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 2, 2019
How far is it from dehumanizing migrants & holding them in unconscionable conditions to sweeping “filth,” by which I take it Trump means homeless people, from city streets & doing the same? https://t.co/4GSfTkfFv8
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 2, 2019
It remains to be seen how Trump, who said he may have to look into doing something as president to fix the issue, will act in the future. If the past is any indication, it doesn’t look promising.
As journalist Glenn Thrush noted, the administration itself has attempted to reduce the amount given for federal grants to tackle housing concerns and homelessness across the nation.
Trump tried to eliminate Community Development Block Grants, which give locals flexibility to buy, renovate & upgrade housing for the homeless (among other things). Congress restored the $. Morale at HUD, under Carson, is as low as at any time its history, per current/ex staff. https://t.co/UL6cv9oi2w
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) July 2, 2019