Trump Says Homeless Americans Are Polluting Ocean With 'Needles' and EPA Will Take Action

Photo: AP

President Donald Trump claims the homeless population in San Francisco is polluting the ocean and says the Environmental Protection Agency will issue some kind of notice to the city within a week, according to reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One last night. Trump said that “needles” and “other things” were pouring into the ocean, but at least once San Francisco official has already called that claim “nonsense.”

“We’re looking at San Francisco and we’re looking at Los Angeles, and we’re looking at all of the things that are happening. You know, there’s tremendous pollution being put into the ocean because they’re going through what’s called the storm sewer that’s for rainwater,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “And we have tremendous things that we don’t have to discuss pouring into the ocean. You know there are needles, there are other things.”

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Trump has been visiting the west coast this week to raise money for his reelection campaign and made the new comments on his flight from California to Washington, D.C. around midnight.

“It’s a terrible situation—that’s in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. And we’re going to be giving San Francisco, they’re in total violation, we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon,” Trump continued.

When a reporter asked what kind of notice would be issued to the city, Trump wouldn’t say.

“You’re going to see over the next, I would say, less than a week. EPA is going to be putting out a notice. They’re in serious violation,” Trump said without elaborating what the “serious violation” might be.

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“And this is environmental… and they have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell. These are great cities. And we can’t lose our great cities like this.”

As local CBS news affiliate KPIX in San Francisco points out, very few of the storm drains in the city actually go directly to the ocean. The grates that appear around the city are “catch basins” that send water to a treatment facility, not to the Pacific Ocean. There are a handful of exceptions where water goes to the ocean with minimal treatment but those are on the “outskirts of the city” in places like Ocean Beach and Mission Bay.

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“There’s no EPA violations,” San Francisco city supervisor Matt Haney told KPIX. “This is somebody who doesn’t even believe in environmental protection, and so this just sounds like nonsense.”

San Francisco, like most cities in the U.S., has a tremendous problem with the number of people who are currently experiencing homelessness. There are an estimated 8,000 people living without a permanent home in San Francisco alone, according to the latest estimates. Los Angeles County has as many as 60,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night, roughly 9 percent of which are children.

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“It’s unfortunate that the President of the United States is coming to San Francisco choosing to attack our city with lies rather than actually trying to assist us with more funding for affordable housing,” Haney continued.

This isn’t the first time that President Trump has singled out San Francisco as a place where he wants to take action on homelessness.

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“You take a look at what’s going on with San Francisco, it’s terrible. So we’re looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate,” President Trump told white nationalist TV host Tucker Carlson back in July. “Now, we have to take the people and do something. We have to do something.”

And President Trump has talked even more often about homelessness over the past week, complaining that foreign property investors are suffering because they have to put up with seeing the homeless.

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“We have people living in our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes,” Trump complained on Air Force One two days ago.

The Washington Post reports that representatives from the Trump regime, including staff from HUD, were recently in California and are considering a plan to tear down homeless encampments and move people into temporary facilities.

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Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson insists that “no one’s forcing homeless people into federal facilities,” but we know that the Trump regime is almost always lying. Trump’s former head of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, as just one example, told Congress there was no family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border. That, of course, was a blatant lie.

It’s not clear what legal authority the federal government would have to forcibly move people to homeless concentration camps, but no one has stopped the Trump regime from doing whatever they want up to this point. It’s not like anyone is going to stop them now. Maybe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will write a strongly worded tweet. That’ll show him.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog