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What Trump’s Love of Eminent Domain Tells You About His Values

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Published on: February 11, 2016

Eminent domain is wonderful, so says Donald Trump.

It is one area where the populist candidate may be showing his real values.

This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

Reality Check: What Trump's Love For Eminent Domain Tells You …

Donald Trump says eminent domain is wonderful! What does he mean by that and what does it tell you about his values?

Posted by Ben Swann on Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Trump says eminent domain is a very good thing, and he knows from personal experience.

“Nobody knows this better than I do, because I’ve built a lot of buildings in Manhattan and you’ll have twelve sites and you’ll get eleven and you’ll have the one holdout, and you end up building around them,” Trump said. “I know it better than anybody.”

Maybe he does. Over the years, Trump has made a fortune in real estate. The most important thing in real estate? Location.

Eminent domain is where government takes property away from individuals for projects that are supposed to have significant value for the public use.

The public use clause of the 5th Amendment of the constitution is nothing new. But it was in 2005 when a Supreme Court case called Kelo v. New London expanded things.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London allowed state and local governments to seize land from one private owner and give it to another private owner to further economic development.

Translation: local governments could take property away from poor people and give it to private, wealthy people for private development. And one of those people who has loudly applauded this practice is Trump.

Speaking about the Kelo decision, Trump told Fox’s Neil Cavuto, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent. If you have a person living in an area that’s not even necessarily a good area, and . . . government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and . . . create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good.”

Trump says eminent domain is necessary, that people can get five times what their property is worth. And there are needs for eminent domain—building roads, laying sewer lines, et cetera.

But Trump doesn’t just support eminent domain for those purposes. He also supports them for building casinos.

According to Reason Magazine, in 1994, Trump sought to personally profit from eminent domain abuse by using government power to kick an elderly widow out of her Atlantic City home.

That woman, Vera Coking, lived just off of Atlantic City’s famous beachfront boardwalk. Trump wanted to take her home and replace it with a new limousine parking lot for the nearby Trump Plaza hotel and casino.

Thanks to the expert legal help from the Institute for Justice, whose lawyers represented Coking, the organization representing Trump lost in court.

So what you need to know is that while Coking kept Trump at bay, he says he would have paid $5 million for that home. Coking’s grandson says Trump actually offered $1.9 million. But in the end the home eventually sold for $580,000.

But here’s the truth: Coking didn’t want $2 million; she didn’t want $5 million. She wanted her home, which should be her right.

What should not be allowed is for anyone to tell you that money is more important than what you own, and therefore anyone with enough money has the right to take it away.

If Trump believes that, it should make others question what he actually values.

Article reposted with permission from Truth in Media, the opinions and views shared do not necessarily reflect the views of Sons of Liberty Media.

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