WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump took aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco over their problems with homelessness on Tuesday and said he is considering setting up a task force to deal with the crisis.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening," he told reporters aboard Air Force One while en route to California for a series of political fundraisers.
Trump, who previously has described California's homeless problem as “disgusting” and a “disgrace to our country," said he would be discussing the issue further with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
“The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up,” he said. “And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”
Trump's visit to California — his fourth as president — comes as he is facing a backlash over his threat of a federal crackdown on homelessness in the state. It also follows on the heels of his Twitter feud with television actress Debra Messing of “Will & Grace.”
Trump, who routinely slams the policies of overwhelmingly Democratic California, will deliver remarks at a fundraising luncheon in Palo Alto on Tuesday and a fundraising dinner in Beverly Hills later that evening. The next day he’ll woo donors at a breakfast in Los Angeles before heading to San Diego for a fundraising luncheon.
Trump's visit comes just a little more than a week after his administration touched off a furor by confirming it had sent officials to California to look for ways to intervene in the state’s growing homeless crisis.
A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, confirmed to USA TODAY last week that a team of federal officials was on the ground in California assessing local homeless camps. The official said the team was conducting a fact-finding mission to learn more about the crisis.