The president's latest soundbite for Fox News is that he's putting San Francisco "on notice" over the homelessness problem, claiming the city is violating environmental rules by letting used hypodermic needles end up in the Pacific Ocean.
Trump's new talking point denigrating liberal San Francisco is that he's going to have the Environmental Protection Agency — the same agency whose rules he's been rolling back by the dozens in order to please Republican businesspeople who don't want to follow them — penalize the city over needles he says are polluting the ocean, based on zero evidence. As the New York Times writes, after Trump made the comments about SF to the press pool on Air Force One on his way out of California on Wednesday, "It was ... unclear what specific laws or regulations the E.P.A. would cite, or what actions the agency would demand from the city’s leaders in order to avoid the citation."
Local politicians have been quick to lash back at Trump's comments. In a statement to the Times, Mayor London Breed says, "To be clear, San Francisco has a combined sewer system, one of the best and most effective in the country, that ensures that all debris that flow into storm drains are filtered out at the city’s wastewater treatment plants. No debris flow out into the bay or the ocean." She added, "In San Francisco, we are focused on advancing solutions to meet the challenges on our streets, not throwing off ridiculous assertions as we board an airplane to leave the state."
State Senator Scott Wiener minced even fewer words, saying, "Donald Trump is a slumlord who has spent his presidency pushing people into homelessness by taking away health care, food assistance and affordable housing funds. He has no credibility on housing and homelessness."
Wiener also went on MSNBC to voice his reactions, and tweeted, "If Trump wants to help us, he can send resources. Otherwise, back off." And also, "I wish Trump would have his EPA enforce against actual environmental problems, but I guess that would be too much to ask."
Trump's focus on homelessness during his California trip is a relatively new one, and the topic has not been of particular interest to him thus far in his presidency — despite the fact that the homeless population has surged in the last several years in cities around the country. And as the Times suggests, "Mr. Trump has repeatedly indicated that his frustration with homeless people in some of the country’s major cities has more to do with making sure that others do not have to see them and less to do with concern about the homeless."
As the Washington Post reported last week, Trump was asking various agencies to find ways for him to address the issue of homelessness in major cities — and one solution floated involved shipping them all to federally run facilities.
Also, an asinine new report by the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers claims that constructing new homeless shelters increases homelessness in cities.
I don't think we need to concern ourselves with this any longer, and the EPA isn't going to be fining San Francisco over needles that aren't going in the ocean. And now, having squeezed a few million dollars out of California's Republican wealthy, Trump is back in Washington and we can all go back to praying we only have another year and change of his bullshit to put up with.
Photo: Michael Vadon