Donald Trump said homeless people should be forcibly removed from urban centres and moved to purpose-built camps on the outskirts of major United States cities during a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s summit in Washington this week.
“You have to move people out,” Mr Trump told an audience during his keynote address at Tuesday’s summit
“Some people say ‘that’s horrible’. No, what’s horrible is what’s happening now. Because now they’re in tents but most of them aren’t even tents that function.”
Mr Trump railed against homeless encampments in his first trip to DC since leaving office in January 2021.
“The only way you’re going to remove the hundreds of thousands of people, and maybe throughout our nation millions of people, and help make our cities clean, safe and beautiful again, is to open up large parcels of inexpensive land in the outer reaches of the cities.
“Bring medical professionals including doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, drug rehab specialists.”
He said “thousands and thousands of high quality tents” could be erected, next to permanent rest rooms and support structures.
Earlier, Mr Trump claimed he ordered the Secret Service to clear homeless encampments in DC.
“I would see a cluster of tents. I’d see it happening. I’d send people out immediately, Secret Service by the way did a phenomenal job,” he said.
He also claimed homelessness had skyrocketed in DC since he left office. Notably, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced earlier this year that the number of people experiencing homelessness in DC has actually declined. A press release from her office dated in April notes that “the overall number of people experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia decreased 13.7% over the past year and is down 47% from 2016.”
According to figures compiled by the Washington Post, homelessness in the US capital is at its lowest rate in 17 years.