The day after Christmas, at 7:59 AM, President Trump tweeted about homelessness in California, alleging that Senator Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) district in particular is “one of the worst anywhere in the U.S.”. He continued “It [homelessness] has gotten so bad, so fast-she has lost total control and, along with her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom…”. This tweet came after a series of Christmas Day tweets from the president, targeting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi‘s handling of the impeachment process and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s leadership in handling the homelessness crisis. This is not the first time the President has accused liberal democrats of causing homelessness, in July the president explained that the homelessness crisis started two years ago and was caused by “the liberal establishment.” President Trump points the finger at the Democratic lawmakers, while California lawmakers blame the Trump administration.
When he visited California this past September campaigning, President Trump’s administration prepared a report detailing a conservative approach to addressing the rising number of homeless persons in America, including recommendations that there be more police, more housing, and more checks on aid. President Trump’s report was met with a quick response from California Democrats: 45 leaders signed a letter condemning the report.
In San Francisco alone, which is included in Senator Pelosi’s district, an estimated 9,784 people were homeless in 2019. Senator Pelosi has secured federal funding to aid the homelessness crisis in her district in the past. She has not yet responded to President Trump’s tweets.
Hours after President Trump tweeted a message accusing Governor Newsom of incompetence and losing control of the homelessness situation, Governor Newsom tweeted to his followers that President Trump must have spent his Christmas like the fictional character The Grinch. Earlier this month, on December 5, 2019, Governor Newsom sent President Trump a letter, after announcing a “100 day challenge” to combat homelessness in California and a new initiative that would reward local governments for creating successful solutions to getting people off of the streets. The California Governor had also just made $650 million of state Emergency Homelessness Aid available to cities and counties within the state. In the letter to the president, he explained to President Trump how the federal government could take immediate action to help California mitigate homelessness. He also touched on the possibility of a power imbalance existing between himself and President Trump, when he mentioned that “With a single stroke of your pen, you can make a major, positive impact on homelessness right away. You can immediately order your Department of Housing and Urban Development to house 50,000 homeless Californians with federal housing vouchers…”a few things Governor Newsom does not not have the power to do.
California, with the largest population in the US, also holds the largest amount of homeless persons in the entire country. Last December, the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress stated that number of homeless Californians was at 129,972. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson released a press release ahead of the release of this year’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. The press release stated that the number of homeless in California had increased by 21,306 people, “more than the total national increase of every other state combined.”