Trump proposed a solution to homelessness that’s basically a war crime

People should be forcibly moved to the “outer reaches of the cities,” he said.

UNITED STATES - JULY 26: Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Policy Institute'...
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump returned to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for his first speech in the nation’s capital since he fled office following his unsuccessful coup attempt in the early days of 2021. And despite having spent the past year and a half lounging in his various palatial estates and expecting visitors to kiss the ring to earn his dubiously effective endorsement, Trump’s keynote address to the America First Policy Institute’s summer summit was a clear sign that should he win another stint in the White House, the second Trump administration would not just be a continuation of his previous slide toward fascism, but a full-blown embrace of unadulterated authoritarian rule.

For proof, consider how Trump proposed handling one of the most vulnerable, at-risk populations in the country: the unhoused community, whose mere existence he described as an impediment to making “our cities clean, safe, and beautiful.”

“Open up large parcels of inexpensive land in the outer reaches of the cities,” Trump proposed — after noting that “some people will not like hearing this.”

“Bring medical professionals, including doctors, psychiatrists, drug rehab specialists,” he went on. “Build permanent bathrooms and other facilities — make ‘em good, make ‘em hard, but make them fast — and create thousands and thousands of high-quality tents, which can be done in one day.”

To be clear, Trump is essentially describing the creation of mass refugee camps for millions of Americans. And lest you have any illusions that he has any real interest in actually helping the homeless community, keep in mind that he’s not talking about creating a voluntary program to help rehabilitate those whose unhoused status is in no small part the result of his own party’s domestic policies. No, he’s talking about forcibly removing them from their current locations in what would, under slightly different circumstances, essentially qualify as a war crime.

“You have to move people out,” he declared. “Now, some people say, ‘Oh that’s so 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.”

In other words, rather than address the underlying causes of homelessness, or even commit the resources he correctly identified as being potentially helpful to unhoused communities where they already exist, Trump instead would institute a federalized program of mandatory displacement, conducted under the guiding principle of “out of sight, out of mind.”

And if the irony of a man whose initial fortune was based in racist, discriminatory housing practices now proposing the forced displacement of unhoused people isn’t enough for you, remember that just after Trump delivered his speech on the necessity of law and order, The Washington Post reported that he is allegedly is under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. Go figure.