President Donald Trump must be making headway with his talk of interceding in California’s giant and growing homelessness problem because the mainstream media has become concerned.
The Washington Post responded with two stories that essentially try to paint the president’s concerns as alternately disingenuous and cruelly preoccupied with the impact of the problem on property owners and the cities’ images.
The New York Times acknowledged that, although none of the Democrat politicians in California plan to align with Trump on homelessness or any other problem, “the shared diagnosis of California’s housing problem left many policymakers here in the deeply uncomfortable position of conceding that the Trump administration has made some fair points.”
The Post opened the newsier of its two stories – Trump: Homeless people hurt the ‘prestige’ of Los Angeles, San Francisco” by Philip Rucker and Jeff Stein – by saying the administration “has been eyeing sweeping unilateral action on homelessness … arguing that people living on the streets here have ruined the ‘prestige’ of two of the state’s most populous cities and suggesting the possibility of federal action.”
It then quickly reminded readers “It is unclear what legal authority the federal government has to clear the streets and ho that might be accomplished” and that “California is controlled by Democrats and has become a bastion of resistance to Trump’s presidency.”
It went on to say Trump “claimed” – as if it weren’t necessarily true – “that police officers here are ‘getting sick’ from dealing with homeless people. It then admitted a Los Angeles police detective has been diagnosed with typhoid fever and other officers have shown symptoms.
It presented one reaction quote in the story from the president and chief executive of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, saying, “The president’s remarks are abhorrent. He’s apparently more concerned with the doorways and streets than with the people who are homeless and sleeping on them.”
It’s all about the real estate owners – and not even the American ones, wrote Philip Rucker in the other Post piece, “Trump reveals a motivation for his anti-homelessness push: Foreign real estate tenants.”
Rucker wrote that “the mention of people experiencing homelessness might seem like something of a non sequitur, an unusual topic that had found its way into Trump’s speech,” but he offered an explanation.
“When the Post first reported on the possibility that Trump wanted to address the homelessness issue, we noted it had been something of a focus of conservative media,” Bump wrote. “Back in July, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson raised the issue of homelessness and urban decay in an interview with Trump. Then Trump inexplicably declared it was ‘a phenomena that started two years ago’ and blamed Democratic leaders.
“His answer on Tuesday makes a lot more sense. The focus of his concern, as presented to reporters on Air Force One, wasn’t Americans or veterans, but foreigners who rent or buy high-end real estate, people who get frustrated at seeing those experiencing homelessness at the entrance to their office buildings. It’s the sort of complaint that might resonate with someone who owns real estate in major U.S. cities that is used for housing or office space. Someone, in other words, like Donald Trump, whose Trump Organization owns 30 percent of what used to be known as the Bank of America tower in San Francisco.”
That’s why the Times, in “Trump and California See Same Homeless Problem, but Not the Same Solutions” by Conor Dougherty, assured readers that, despite Trump having “made some fair points,” leaders have no “intention to cooperate with the administration on a solution, given the cauldron of mistrust and mutual distaste that exists between the president and large sections of California.
“For all his talk of homelessness, Mr. Trump indicated to reporters that his sympathies rested with the taxpayers, rich immigrants and business leaders forced to wade through California’s urban detritus.”
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Author: Brian McNicoll