Donald Trump’s latest spat with conservatives over eminent domain is surprising only because it took this long for it to erupt.
The billionaire real-estate mogul on Tuesday issued a gushing defense of allowing the government to seize private property to promote the public good, whether that means building a highway or partnering with a developer—such as himself—on projects that would create “thousands of jobs.”
“I think eminent domain is wonderful,” Trump told Bret Baier on Fox News. And why wouldn’t he? Over the course of his career in business, Trump has repeatedly asked the government to invoke eminent domain to clear land for his projects, whether it was a hotel parking lot (for limousines!) in Atlantic City, or an office and entertainment complex in Connecticut. Not to mention that Trump’s entire ethos is the political equivalent of a bulldozer. As for the people displaced by property seizing, Trump didn’t have much sympathy. It’s often just one “hold-out” out of a dozen who decide to sell their homes for much more than they’d otherwise be worth. “Don’t forget, they get a lot of money,” he said.
“You’re not taking that property,” Trump added. “You’re paying a fortune for that property. Those people can move two blocks away into a much nicer house.”