WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 28, 2019) — At the same time that conservative radio host and commentator Dan Bongino was discussing rising homelessness in New York City and Los Angeles on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted his own thoughts on the subject, echoing Bongino’s statement that if local officials are unable to effectively manage the problem, the federal government might be inclined to step in.
Bongino specifically faulted the policies of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio while stating that during his own 30 years in the New York metropolitan area, the policies of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani reduced crime and homelessness.
In the chyron as Bongino spoke from his home in Florida, Fox News reported that the number of homeless individuals in New York City has risen to more than 78,000.
Homeless people have long been a part of the landscape of Los Angeles. In skid row. In Hollywood. More recently, in Venice.
But this was the year that the tents, tarps and broken-down RVs, and the unseemly sights, sounds and smells of people living on the streets became inescapable, no matter where you lived or worked. This was the year that homelessness truly felt like a crisis in L.A.
At last count, close to 59,000 people — roughly the population of Cupertino, Calif. — lacked permanent housing across L.A. County. That’s up 12% from last year. Meanwhile, in the city of L.A., the number climbed 16% to more than 36,000.
Bongino appeared on “Fox & Friends” at approximately 8:35 a.m. EST, at which time Trump tweeted that the states of California and New York “must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems. They are setting records!”
According to his Twitter feed, it was Trump’s only tweet of the hour and the day. Trump is known to watch and often quote commentary from “Fox & Friends” anchors, reporters and guests.
In the remainder of the tweet, he suggested that if the two states’ governors “can’t handle the situation, which they should be able to do very easily, they must call and ‘politely’ ask for help. Would be so easy with competence!”
On December 4, The New York Times reported:
A homelessness official fired by the Trump administration last month amid a dispute over White House proposals to address California’s homeless population was hired on Wednesday to advise the state’s governor, who has repeatedly clashed with the president.
Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized the federal government while appointing the former official, Matthew Doherty, who had served as the director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness during the Obama and Trump administrations.
For months, President Trump has hammered California’s leadership — Mr. Newsom in particular — over the state’s homelessness problem. Mr. Doherty was fired last month after reported clashes with the president’s team over potential actions in California, including a controversial proposal to move homeless people into unspecified federal facilities.
On Thursday, Trump pointed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who represents the City of San Francisco in Congress, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as the sources of the rising homeless and sanitation problems in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
On Christmas Day, expounding on a December 20 tweet from Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren, Trump tweeted of Newsom:
The State of New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, on November 19 announced an initiative in which $56.5 million “in state funding has been awarded to 15 projects that will provide housing for homeless individuals and families. The projects, funded through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, will create nearly 600 units of permanent supportive housing and 40 emergency shelter beds for veterans, survivors of domestic violence and individuals with mental illness.”
Approximately two hours before Bongino’s appearance and Trump’s simultaneous tweets, The New York Post, a subsidiary of Fox News’s parent company, News Corporation, reported that homeless numbers in New York State as of January 2018 exceeded 90,000.
At 9:33 a.m., Fox & Friends’s three co-anchors displayed and quoted from Trump’s tweet as well as replayed Bongino’s interview.