During an interview with Special Report‘s Brett Baier Tuesday night, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump said eminent domain is a “wonderful thing.”

“I think eminent domain is wonderful if you’re building a highway and you need to build, as an example, a highway, and you’re going to be blocked by a hold-out or, in some cases, it’s a hold-out. Just so you understand, nobody knows this better than I do, because I built a lot of buildings in Manhattan and you’ll have 12 sites and you’ll get 11 and you’ll have the one hold-out and you end up building around them and everything else, OK. So I know it better than anybody.”

Eminent domain being the government’s “right” to swipe property they deem essential for public works or other developmental projects. Opposition to government seizure of private property for the purpose of building condos and parking lots should be a no-brainer for private property rights advocates (and just about anyone with Conservative political leanings).

Fellow Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio disagrees with Trump. Speaking to The Weekly Standard Wednesday, Rubio said, “he’s wrong.”

“In Florida when I was a state legislator, we passed what has become model legislation for other states around the country–that I actually passed–both a law and a constitutional amendment that keeps developers like Donald Trump from using eminent domain to take private property away from an owner and give it to another private owner, which is what the Kelo decision said should be legal unless states barred it. So he’s wrong about that. One of the most important rights Americans have is private property.”

Realistically, eminent domain isn’t used for the public good as often as it’s used to cushion city and developer pockets. In fact, eminent domain is so wonderful, the city of Houston is currently using the private property seizure discretion to threaten two long-standing churches into selling their land to make way for real-estate development.

The Weekly Standard also noted, Trump once utilized the power of eminent domain to build a limousine parking lot:

Executive vice president of the Cato Institute, David Boaz, wrote in The Guardian:

For more than 30 years Vera Coking lived in a three-story house just off the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Donald Trump built his 22-story Trump Plaza next door. In the mid-1990s Trump wanted to build a limousine parking lot for the hotel, so he bought several nearby properties. But three owners, including the by then elderly and widowed Ms Coking, refused to sell.

Trump turned to a government agency – the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) – to take Coking’s property. CRDA offered her $250,000 for the property – one-fourth of what another hotel builder had offered her a decade earlier. When she turned that down, the agency went into court to claim her property under eminent domain so that Trump could pave it and put up a parking lot.

It’s not like Granny needed her land anyway…

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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