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WATCH: Trump Curiously Takes Credit for U.S. Homeless ‘Phenomenon That Started Two Years Ago’

President Donald Trump revealed to Fox News’ host Tucker Carlson that the problem of “filth” in U.S. cities like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles “started two years ago.” This means that, in the president’s opinion, major U.S. cities did not have a problem with homelessness until he was six months into his presidency.

Carlson interviewed the commander in chief during a trip to Asia for the G20 conference, and a surprise trip to the DMZ between South and North Korea which featured a handshake with Kim Jong-un and a historic presidential step into North Korea.

The interview, which aired Monday evening, revealed a very interesting conversation about the state of American cities in comparison to the pristine living conditions in major metropolitan cities of Japan.

Carlson noted how in cities like Osaka and Tokyo the streets are clean, there’s no graffiti and no one going to the bathroom in the street. He eventually noted how major U.S. cities have a major problem with “filth” before asking “why is that?”

Trump replied, “It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful.” Trump was elected president in November of 2016 and took office in January of 2017. So doing the math, this problem started roughly six months into his administration.

Perhaps more curious than ostensibly taking credit for urban decay, President Trump sort of flip-flopped on if he thinks this problem was worth addressing.

Trump appeared to first be willing to fix this problem, saying, “So we’re looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate.”

He then followed with the politically expedient hedge, adding, “And, you know, we’re really not very equipped as a government to be doing that kind of work. That’s not really the kind of work that the government probably should be doing.”

A transcript of the interview is below:

CARLSON: You’ve come to where we are now Osaka or Tokyo and the cities are clean. There’s no graffiti. No one going to bathroom on the street. You don’t see junkies.

TRUMP: It’s very nice, isn’t it?

CARLSON: Very different from our city.

TRUMP: Yes. Well, no, some of our cities —

CARLSON: Some of our cities, but New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles – they’ve got a major problem with —

TRUMP: It’s very sad.

CARLSON: With filth. Why is that?

TRUMP: It’s a phenomena that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful. I’m going to may be 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.

Although some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way. In fact, perhaps they like living that way. They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities. And you have people that work in those cities. They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago.

And this is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting. They — I don’t know if they’re afraid of votes. I don’t know if they really believe that this should be taking place. But it’s a terrible thing that’s taking place. And we may be —

You know, I had a situation when I first became President, we had certain areas of Washington, D.C. where that was starting to happen, and I ended it very quickly. I said, “You can’t do that.”

When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the President of the United States and they’re riding down a highway, they can’t be looking at that. I really believe that it hurts our country.

They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Francisco, I own property in San Francisco, so I don’t care except it was so beautiful. And now areas that you used to think as being, you know, really something very special, you take a look at what’s going on with San Francisco, it’s terrible.

So we’re looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate.

Now, we have to take the people and do something. We have to do something.

CARLSON: Right.

TRUMP: And, you know, we’re really not very equipped as a government to be doing that kind of work. That’s not really the kind of work that the government probably should be doing.

We’ve never had this in our lives before in our country. And it’s not only those few cities, it’s a couple of other ones.

CARLSON: No, it’s a lot of cities.

TRUMP: At the same time, most of our cities are doing great. But 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.

But the thing that nobody can figure out is do these governors or mayors, do they really think this is a positive? Do they really think this is okay? Because it’s not. It’s destroying their city. And it’s destroying a whole way of life, and it’s not our country. It’s not what our country is all about.

Correction: This post has been updated to note that the interview aired on Monday night.

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