Donald Trump continues to be attacked by his primary opponents regarding his most prior use of eminent domain. For example, Marco Rubio criticized Trump’s position and then touted legislation he supported to limit the use of eminent domain when he was a Florida state legislator.
In one interview with Fox News, Trump said, “Eminent domain — when it comes to jobs, roads, the public good — I think it’s a wonderful thing. I fully understand the conservative approach, but I don’t think it was explained to most conservatives.”
Most recently, Trump had the following exchange with Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: You say that eminent domain is wonderful, and you —
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.
WALLACE: I understand that. And that’s the idea of using – taking private property for a public use. But –
TRUMP: And by the way, people get paid for it. Everyone thinks they don’t get paid. They get paid a lot of money.
WALLACE: Do you support taking private property for private use?
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.
WALLACE: But let me ask you since you were involved in a case like this, as you know, in the 90s —
TRUMP: That’s true. That was an economic development.
WALLACE: — in Atlantic City.
WALLACE: You had your hotel, and you wanted to build a parking lot where some woman had her house —
TRUMP: She saved me a fortune.
WALLACE: But I guess the question is why do you need to take her house, for a parking lot?
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.