California Gov. Gavin Newsom has defended his decision to launch a huge cleanup effort in the state ahead of a visit from U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, among other world leaders.
Speaking to reporters during the unveiling of a new program to plant trees in urban neighborhoods on Nov. 13, the Democrat did not deny the clean-up efforts ahead of the visit from what he described as “fancy” world leaders.
President Biden and Mr. Xi are among the senior officials set to visit San Francisco, California this week for the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group’s annual meeting.
“I know folks are saying, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town, that’s true because it’s true,” Mr. Newsom said Monday.
That scheme was marketed by the governor as a “transformative initiative to remove litter, create jobs, and beautify California.”
Later on Monday, the governor again doubled down on his comments, telling reporters he was “excited” to “show off” California to the “21 fancy foreign leaders from around the world.”
“Anytime you put on an event, by definition, you have people over your house—you got to clean up the house. You’ve got 21 foreign leaders, you got tens of thousands of people coming from around the globe, what an opportunity to showcase the world’s most extraordinary place, San Francisco, “the governor said.
According to reports, roughly 3,300 homeless encampments have been cleared as part of the Clean California scheme since 2021.
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