Donald Trump Backtracks on Eminent Domain

A couple of weeks ago Donald Trump got into some hot water with conservatives after he called eminent domain abuse “wonderful.” Many conservatives and libertarians pointed out that Trump was in essence praising government theft of private property in the continuing effort to push our nation towards socialism. Trump at first defended his remarks, but over the last week has seemed to shift his opinion and is now saying that eminent domain use is only okay when it’s used to create jobs.

Chris Wallace: You say that eminent domain is wonderful, and you —

Donald Trump: I didn’t say wonderful, I say eminent domain is something you need Chris. Eminent domain – if I build a highway – go ahead. I know exactly what you’re saying. But if I build a highway, and if something’s in the way of the highway, you’re going to have to do something with that.

Chris Wallace: I understand that. And that’s the idea of using – taking private property for a public use. But –

Donald Trump: And by the way, people get paid for it. Everyone thinks they don’t get paid. They get paid a lot of money.

Chris Wallace: I understand. But in the Kelo case, the big Supreme Court case in 2005, they took somebody’s home and they sold it and then paid – bought it. And then they gave it – sold it – to private entrepreneurs, private developers. And that’s the question —

Donald Trump: That’s different.

Chris Wallace: But that’s the question I’m going to ask you —

Donald Trump: But that’s different.

Chris Wallace: Do you support taking private property for private use?

Donald Trump: If somebody has a property in the middle of a 7,000 job factory, as an example, that’s going to move into the town – but they need this one corner of this property, and it’s going to provide 7,000 jobs in a community that’s dying, of which we have many in this country, OK? I am for that. That’s a big economic development. But remember this: all of these people that we’re talking about, they’re friends of mine. They all love the Keystone Pipeline, right?
The Keystone Pipeline is all eminent domain. They’re building that pipeline without eminent domain, you wouldn’t be able to build.

Chris Wallace: But let me ask you since you were involved in a case like this, as you know, in the 90s —

Donald Trump: That’s true. That was an economic development.

Chris Wallace: — in Atlantic City.

Donald Trump: Sure.

Chris Wallace: You had your hotel, and you wanted to build a parking lot where some woman had her house —

Donald Trump: She saved me a fortune.

Chris Wallace: But I guess the question is why do you need to take her house, for a parking lot?

Donald Trump: I tell you what. Because I have a hotel, and in order to expand the hotel and add 2,000 rooms, I would have had to take her thing. Now, the 2,000 rooms would have provided about 2,500 jobs, Ultimately offered a lot of money, she didn’t take it, I didn’t build the job. I didn’t do it. Saved me a lot of money because Atlantic City, you know, I had the good sense to leave 7 years ago. I got very lucky. Yeah, I think that would have been a good eminent domain because you would have provided thousands of jobs. And this is a woman who couldn’t have cared less about her house. All she wanted was money.