ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — President Trump on Wednesday said he expects the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slap San Francisco with a violation notice in the coming days related to pollution associated with the city’s homeless population.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump again took aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco over the volume of homeless people in each city. But he escalated his rhetoric, saying an announcement citing San Francisco for environmental violations would come in the next week.
“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 said. “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.”
“It’s a terrible situation — that’s in Los Angeles and in San Francisco,” he continued. “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 said the notice would come from the EPA, but did not elaborate.
“We can’t have our cities going to hell. These are great cities. And we can’t lose our great cities like this,” he said.
An EPA spokesperson declined to comment, citing the agency's practice on discussing potential enforcement actions.
London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, hit back at Trump over his remarks, arguing the city was doing its part to try and address its homeless population by investing in shelter beds and mental health services.
"The president is cutting clean air and clean water standards, restricting our ability to regulate car emissions, and denying climate change even exists," Breed tweeted. "He's cut funding for homelessness and affordable housing. In SF, we're meeting the challenges on our streets."
Trump spent the last two days in California for fundraisers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. He also stopped by the U.S.-Mexico border to tour a barrier under construction.
Trump lamented before arriving in California that homelessness issues in Los Angeles and San Francisco was hurting the “prestige” of the cities and forcing residents to flee.
The president’s warning of further action against San Francisco came on the same day that he revoked California’s waiver for auto emissions, setting up a legal battle between the administration and the state, which has already sued over Trump’s policies roughly 60 times.
“It was a coincidence. ... We’ve been perfecting it for a long period of time,” Trump said, downplaying the timing of that announcement while he was on the ground in Los Angeles.
Trump argued that the emissions rule will ultimately help consumers without negatively affecting the environment, though advocates have argued that the White House's decision will worsen air pollution.