Fox News' Tucker Carlson asked Trump about 'filth' in U.S. cities. Trump's answer, about homelessness, is a mess.

Trump talks to Tucker Carlson about homlessness
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Fox News)

Homelessness is a serious problem, involving drug addiction, mental illness, stagnant wages, and rising housing costs, among other serious issues demanding serious solutions. In an interview from Osaka broadcast Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson appeared to ask President Trump about homelessness problems in major U.S. cities, contrasting New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with the "clean" cities in Japan that have "no graffiti," no public urination, and no "junkies." Why do U.S. cities have "a major problem with filth?" Carlson asked. Here's part of Trump's response:

It's a phenomena that started two years ago. It's disgraceful. I'm going to maybe — and I'm looking at it very seriously, we're doing some other things that you probably noticed, like some of the very important things that we're doing now. But we're looking at it very seriously because you can't do that. You can't have what's happening — where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat. I mean, they're getting actually very sick, where people are getting sick, where the people living there living in hell, too. ...We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It's inappropriate. ... We've never had this in our lives before in our country. ... If you look at some of these, they are usually sanctuary cities run by very liberal people and the states are run by very liberal people. [President Trump, Fox News]

"Trump did not mention the word homeless during the segment, so it was difficult to glean his exact meaning or how he would address the issue," The Washington Post notes. "The numbers of homeless people in the United States has stayed relatively level in the three years between 2016 and 2018, ticking up from 550,000 to 553,000 last year. But these numbers represent a significant drop over the past decade." You can read Trump's entire response below. Peter Weber

See more

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.