The sixth Democratic presidential debate took place Thursday night in Los Angeles, one of several California cities with out-of-control homeless problems. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has called the state's growing homeless crisis a "national emergency," watched from the audience at Loyola Marymount University. After the debate, a reporter asked the governor why is was President Trump's responsibility to take care of the housing crisis that California has itself created.
"Well, he's president of the United States," Newsom said, "and I imagine he cares about people of the United States, and he cares about the largest state in the United States of America. And I imagine if you're president of the United States, any leader, like myself, feels a deep sense of responsibility to address some of the most vexing issues in the country. In that respect, you would imagine some accountability and some responsibility to be supportive and to reach out."
Trump has pointedly criticized California's for failing to handle the state's growing homeless population.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening," Trump said in September.
“They have to clean it up," Trump warned. "We can’t have our cities going to hell.”
The reporter told the governor on Thursday that it sounded like the governor was deflecting responsibility for the state's problems and pointed out that prices of California's housing and the ability of those living in the state to afford housing simply weren't matching up.
"I would encourage you to take a look at what we've been doing which you may not be familiar with," Newsom lectured the reporter, "and I imagine if you did take a look at what we just did in the last year you would see a very different picture would be painted in your mind and that question would be sort of incongruent with the reality."
The reporter assured the governor that she knows all about Newsom's efforts to address homelessness in the state, efforts which have seemingly done nothing so far to remedy the problem.
"Good," responded Newsom. "So you get a sense then of the billion dollars we invested. The fact that we put a plan together, have an interagency council to address the issue for the first time in our state's history, that we've strategized the plan at a regional basis, that we were in Kern County today laying out our hundred day strategies -- mayors, city administrators all across the state -- and that we've asked the Trump administration for the one thing that he can do specifically and that's address the fair-market rent issue and help us support with vouchers additional resources so we can get people housing. It's not about abdicating responsibility. It's not about pointing fingers. It's saying to the president of the United States, 'if you want to help, you can help.'"
The governor's plan is to throw money at the problem without fixing the underlying housing shortage that has plagued the state for decades.
The reporter also asked the governor about his plan to help homeless people with mental health and drug abuse problems.
"People with behavioral health problems," Newsom responded, "that's an interesting issue because the Republican Party for decades has been cutting behavioral health funding, cutting brain health funding, consistently not supporting the efforts of the local, national, and state levels to do justice on that issue, so you're absolutely right the president can do a hell of a lot more."
Like every other problem facing California, the governor takes zero responsibility and calls on others to take action. Democrats have been at the helm in California as the homeless problem has spiraled completely out of control. But somehow it's the Republican Party and Trump's fault. I guess it's just too hard for the Democrats to blame this one on climate change.