Trump claims San Francisco's homeless are polluting the ocean with needles and threatens to fine the city

ReutersU.S. President Trump visits a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa
  • President Donald Trump said his administration will soon charge the city of San Francisco with violating environmental regulations over ocean pollution he claimed is caused by the city’s homeless population.
  • Returning from his first visit to the Bay Area since his election, the president claimed that “tremendous” pollution, including used needles, are flowing into storm sewers and into the Pacific.
  • “They’re in total violation – we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. “They have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.”
  • San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, dismissed Trump’s claims and said that the city has one of the US’s “most effective” waste disposal systems that filters out debris.
  • “In San Francisco we are focused on advancing solutions to meet the challenges on our streets, not throwing off ridiculous assertions as we board an aeroplane to leave the state,” Breed said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump said his administration will soon charge the city of San Francisco with violating environmental regulations over ocean pollution he claimed is caused by the city’s homeless population.

Returning from his first visit to the Bay Area since his election, the president claimed that “tremendous” pollution, including used needles, are flowing into storm sewers and into the Pacific.

“They’re in total violation – we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening. “They have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.”

The administration hasn’t indicated what regulation the Environmental Protection Agency would enforce.

San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, dismissed Trump’s claims and said that the city has one of the “most effective” waste disposal systems in the US.

“To be clear, San Francisco has a combined sewer system, one of the best and most effective in the country, that ensures that all debris that flow into storm drains are filtered out at the city’s wastewater treatment plants,” Breed said in a Wednesday night statement. “No debris flow out into the bay or the ocean.”

She added, “In San Francisco we are focused on advancing solutions to meet the challenges on our streets, not throwing off ridiculous assertions as we board an aeroplane to leave the state.”

San Francisco already collects tens of thousands of hypodermic needles off of its streets every month, and the administration has not said what else it would ask the city to do to clean up its streets.


Read more:
Trump says homeless people are living in ‘our best highways’ and building entrances and people have told him they want to ‘leave the country’ over it

Trump has regularly attacked Democratic lawmakers from progressive cities, including San Francisco, over issues of homelessness and has rarely expressed concern for Americans who’ve found themselves without homes. Instead, he’s argued that poverty in American cities is an embarrassment for the country and a nuisance for residents.

On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that homeless people are ruining “our best highways and our best streets,” and claimed that “foreign tenants” want to leave the country because of it.

“We have people living in our … best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” Trump said.

And Trump claimed during a July interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson that police officers in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and California are “getting sick just by walking the beat.”

Homelessness is on the rise in California, which has the largest homeless population of any state in the country. San Francisco’s homeless population has jumped 17% since 2017 and has risen 16% over the last year in the city of Los Angeles. The homeless population has grown 43% since 2017 in Alameda County, which includes Oakland.

Some Democrats have agreed with Trump that California must address its homelessness problem.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said the president is “right that homelessness is a big problem in California.” She added, “But how he explains the situation is wrong and raises significant concerns that his so-called solutions will only make matters worse.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.