President Biden and Mr. Xi are among the senior officials set to visit San Francisco, California this week for the 21-member APEC group’s annual meeting.
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.
While the governor admitted to cleaning up the state—which has been battling with rampant homelessness, drug use, and rising thefts—ahead of the visit, he also claimed such clean-up efforts had been in place for “years” prior to the APEC meeting, under the billion-dollar “Clean California” initiative unveiled in 2021.
That scheme was marketed by the governor as a “transformative initiative to remove litter, create jobs, and beautify California.”
“It’s also true for months and months and months before APEC, we’ve been having different conversations and we’ve raised the bar of expectation between the city, the county, and the state and our federal partners,” Mr. Newsom said Monday.
‘Got to Clean Up the House’
Mr. Newsom’s comments come as major retailers have been forced to pull out of California, citing concerns about theft and the safety of employees as the city continues to grapple with increased crime and drug overdoses. San Francisco, which defunded the police in 2020 in response to Black Lives Matter protests, also slashed its police and sheriff departments’ budgets by $120 million.