Now that the impeachment stink has faded to just a lingering whiff, the presidential race is in full force once again, including our current commander in chief’s campaign. This week, Donald Trump entered the very blue state of California to discuss everything from getting the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles to warning that the Golden State’s politicians should do something about the homeless epidemic or the federal government would step in and take care of it. As usual, he was met with some die-hard supporters and a lot of angry “not my president” opposition.
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has made it very well known that he in no way supports the president. On Feb. 10, he was a guest on ABC’s The View, where he reinforced that opinion. “We are the most un-Trump state in America, and we are also the most diverse state in America,” he said. Then he arrogantly boasted, “Trump is just scared of California.”
Eight days later, on Feb. 18, the president visited L.A., Beverly Hills, and Bakersfield. Evidently, he wasn’t all that scared of visiting. Trump met with the organizers of the 2028 Olympic Games before he headed off to Beverly Hills for a fundraising dinner. He said the committee had contacted him while he’d been the president-elect and asked if he could make the decision about supporting Olympics in the U.S. because the Obama administration had yet to do so. “They were starving for love, and we gave them the love,” the president said, adding that he signed a document giving the federal government’s total support for the event.
The next item on the agenda was criticism for L.A.’s homeless crisis. Trump has made no bones about his disgust with the sheer number of people on the streets, trash and drugs littering the sidewalks, and the local leaders’ inability to curb the problem. “If they can’t do it themselves, we’re going to do it,” the president warned. “The federal government is going to take it over, we’re going to do it.”
The next day, on Feb. 19, Newsom held his annual State of the State address, focusing most of his speech on the homelessness crisis. He said the emphasis should be on those at most risk, such as the youth, chronic homeless individuals, repeat criminals, and drug addicts. “We’re putting our entire state government on notice,” he said, to respond to emergency efforts for the homeless.
Quick to label Trump as pushy, overbearing, and using threat tactics to get what he wants, Newsom then said, “My message to you [county governments] is this: Spend your mental health money by June 30 this year or we’ll do it for you.”
The governor’s newest plan is called California Access to Housing Fund, and he wants “an unprecedented $750 million to get it started.” Any new funding does not replace the current coffers, and there isn’t a clear plan in place yet for raising the money. Claiming this is such a good plan that the federal government should follow suit on a national level, Newsom said this is a “do it or lose it policy” and that counties will need to “take action or you’re going to lose the new money.”
“This is just one aspect of the governor’s proposal that has us scratching our heads,” Michelle Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association, said. “What we are hearing is not, ‘Gosh, we really need another cook in the kitchen.’”
The president is correct that the Golden State needs to step up and take care of this crisis, but is Newsom’s plan even feasible? Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill said, “The ironic and incredibly inconvenient truth is California leads the way, adding an implausible 16.4% of unsheltered families, veterans, and elder Americans attempting to survive on the streets … The unsheltered population decreased dramatically in 29 states – including Washington, D.C. It should’ve been a banner year to celebrate, but California skewed the curve.”
Trump made a stop in Bakersfield, the Central Valley, and an area that is usually ignored by presidential candidates. There he met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “to speak with hard-working farmers in the Central Valley about efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states,” he said.
Later, the president went to Rancho Mirage in Riverside County to attend a fundraising golf event before flying to Phoenix for a rally that evening. Next, it’s to Colorado Springs on Feb. 20 for an evening rally, then to Las Vegas for yet another one.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.