Garcetti responds to Trump's comments that homeless crisis 'started two years ago'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is responding to President Donald Trump's criticism of how cities have handled the growing homelessness crisis.

Trump appeared in a Fox News interview to criticize the rising homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco and to lay the blame on current state and city leaders.

"It's a phenomenon that started two years ago," Trump said. "It's disgraceful."

The president made the remarks in a television interview Monday night and suggested his administration may step in but he didn't explain how.

"This is the liberal establishment. This is what I'm finding. I don't know if they are 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."

"I'm looking at it very seriously," he added.

Garcetti is weighing in on the president's comments, saying he's glad to hear him address the crisis.

"Any day that the president of the United States is talking about the homeless crisis in America is a good day," Garcetti said. "I know I'm supposed to hit him back politically but I see this as an opportunity because political stunts don't save lives but a coalition working to save Americans under his watch, my watch, all of our watch - getting them off the streets is something I would welcome."

Garcetti explained that homelessness didn't start two years ago but rather four decades ago. He said it is neither Trump's fault nor his own, but they have the responsibility to find a solution.

"Twenty-two thousand lives were saved in this city last year," Garcetti said. "When the feds got involved with homeless veterans, we were able to collectively reduce by 80 percent the number of homeless veterans in L.A. Let's do that for the non-veterans, too. I'll go to the White House and sit down with him. I'll walk Skid Row with him here. We can do this together as long as we're not pointing fingers of blame."

Garcetti also said this week he's leading a coalition of mayors calling on Congress to pass a measure from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, that would provide $13 billion for cities to tackle homelessness. He's calling on Trump to support the legislation.
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