Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump argued that eminent domain, including for private projects that “employ thousands of people” is “a wonderful thing” in an interview broadcast on Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.
Trump stated, “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, okay? So, I know it better than anybody. I think eminent domain for massive projects, for instance, you’re going to create thousands of jobs, and you have somebody that’s in the way, and you pay that person far more — don’t forget, eminent domain, they get a lot of money, and you need a house in a certain location, because you’re going to build this massive development that’s going to employ thousands of people, or you’re going to build a factory, that without this little house, you can’t build the factory. I think eminent domain is fine.”
Trump was then asked for his past support for the Supreme Court’s ruling on eminent domain in Kelo v. New London, he stated, “Eminent domain — number one, a person has a house, and they end up getting much more than the house is ever worth. You know, eminent domain is not like you — they take your house.”
He added, “if you have a road or highway, you gotta do it. If you have a factory where you have thousands of jobs, and you need eminent domain, it’s called economic development.”
When asked about criticism of the Kelo ruling by Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Trump argued, “the way they talk, people would say oh, it’s turned over. It’s turned over for four, five, six, ten times sometimes what it’s worth. People pay them a fortune. But sometimes you have people that want to hold out just for the — most of the time, I will say, I’ve done a lot of outparcels, I call them outparcels. Most of the time, they just want money, okay? It’s very rarely that they say ‘I love my house. I love my house. It’s the greatest thing there.’ Because these people can go buy a house now that’s five times bigger, in a better location, so eminent domain, when it comes to jobs, roads, the public good, I think it’s a wonderful thing, I’ll be honest with you, and remember, you’re not taking property, you know, the way you asked the question, the way other people — you’re paying a fortune for that property. Those people can move two blocks away into a much nicer house.”
Trump concluded, “I think it’s a great subject. It’s a very interesting subject. I fully understand the conservative approach. But I don’t think it was explained to most conservatives.”
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