Newsom faces criticism over S.F. clean-up for Xi Jinping visit

The Governor faced heat over admitting the wholesale clean-up of San Francisco was coordinated for visiting foreign dignitaries.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is on the receiving end of a mountain of criticism after admitting that San Francisco’s speedy clean-up of dirty streets and homeless encampments was timed for the visit of Xi Jinping and other foreign dignitaries for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this week.

The big picture: Many people on social media expressed outrage, criticizing Newsom and the Democratic Party for prioritizing the cleanup for foreign leaders instead of addressing the ongoing homelessness crisis in California.


  • Critics accused Newsom and other politicians of neglecting the needs of their own citizens and only taking action when foreign dignitaries are in town.
  • Some pointed out the hypocrisy of spending billions of dollars over the years to address the homelessness crisis, while San Francisco was able to clean up in just 48 hours.
  • Former Mayor of San Francisco and now Governor of California, Newsom, was specifically targeted for his admission and his policies.
  • Newsom defended the cleanup efforts, stating that it was part of the ongoing Clean California beautification project and aimed to showcase San Francisco as an extraordinary place for the visiting leaders.
  • The governor’s office responded to the criticism by stating that the reporting on the event had been misleading and pointed to the success of the Clean California initiative in cleaning up encampments statewide.

What they’re saying: “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,” Newsom said at a Thursday press conference. 

  • “The saddest part of this is that California’s leaders are showing they could clean up their streets – they just choose not to,” Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-Ark.) wrote. “Here in Arkansas, we’re cracking down on crime, lowering taxes, and investing in communities. And we’re doing it for Arkansans, not the CCP.”
  • “How about instead of spending billions and billions over years and years to fight the homeless crisis, we just do what San Francisco did in 48 hours?” consultant and California native Andrew Clark wrote.
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