Fox Business correspondent Hillary Vaughn confronted White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan over the San Francisco clean-up during Monday’s press briefing.
San Francisco rushed to clean up its streets by moving homeless people to other parts of the city and cleaning up trash and tent cities ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Jinping traveled to San Francisco where the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) is being held from Nov. 11-17.
“Is the president embarrassed that an American city needs to go through a total makeover to be presentable for his out-of-town guests?” Vaughn asked.
“The president is incredibly proud of the record that the United States will bring as host to this summit. I went through some of it today,” Sullivan said. “The strongest economic record of any developed country, the lowest unemployment over a sustained period in half a century, far-reaching investments in innovation in ships, rebuilding America’s infrastructure. So, actually, Joe Biden thinks he is walking into the summit on the front foot and is able to showcase the United States as the premiere destination for investment, for good job creating investment, here in the United States, all of which will be on display while he’s there, and the countries of the world that are coming, are coming with a recognition that the United States is in a strong — indeed, for a lot of people, an enviable — economic position and that is going to, I think, sustain him very effectively for the rest of the week.”
Vaughn then read a quote from Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said the city is being cleaned up for the “fancy leaders … coming to town.” The California governor’s statement reads, “I know folks say ‘They’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming into town’ – that’s true because it’s true. I’m so excited about showing this place off to 21 fancy foreign leaders from around the world.” (RELATED: San Francisco Cleans Up Homeless Encampments Just In Time For Chinese President’s Visit: REPORT)
“Does President Biden agree it’s more important to impress the leader of China than the American people that live in San Francisco and pay taxes everyday?” Vaughn asked.
“First, I completely reject the premise of your question, but secondly, I don’t know what the context of what Governor Newsom said, so I won’t respond to it,” Sullivan said.
San Francisco’s homeless population increased by nearly 1,000 people between 2015 and 2022. The crime and drug use rate led to a state of emergency in the Tenderloin district in December 2021 with there being a higher rate of reported fatalities caused by drug overdoses than by COVID-19 in 2020.