Fellow Patriot: The voluntary financial generosity of supporters like you keeps our hard-hitting analysis coming. Please support the 2024 Patriots' Day Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

October 8, 2015

Trump’s Domain

“I think eminent domain is wonderful,” says the GOP frontrunner.

James Madison once wrote, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. … This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.”

Good thing Madison never met Donald Trump.

Turns out the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate not only has made it his practice to strip folks of their private property, but he also thinks it’s just fine for the government to do the same.

Recall the disastrous 2005 Supreme Court Kelo v. City of New London decision. In that case, SCOTUS ruled the city could take private property from its rightful owner and give it to a private developer for the “greater economic good” — not for public use. And Trump agreed with the Court.

Incidentally, a decade after Kelo, the land that was supposed to deliver such a boon to the area still sits empty. As The Blaze reports, “The only creatures making regular use of [the lots] in the intervening years have been a colony of feral cats.”

In an interview this week with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Trump extolled the virtues of eminent domain and even boasted of his own abuse — er, use — of it. (Warning: typical Trump run-on sentence follows.)

> “I think eminent domain is wonderful. … I build a lot of buildings in Manhattan, and you’ll have 12 sites and you’ll get 11 and you’ll have the one holdout 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.”

In other words, Trump thinks it’s just dandy to build his empire by kicking folks out of their homes. As president, would he wrack up executive orders ousting folks from hearth and home so his billionaire development pals could provide for the “greater good”?

Make America Great Again™, indeed.

In reality, eminent domain — as outlined in the pesky Fifth Amendment — is bound by strict limitations. Specifically, private property may be taken only for public use and with just compensation. Nowhere does the Constitution permit the government to take property from its rightful owner and give it to another private entity for personal or even communal gain.

And, as John Adams wrote, “The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

But to the Constitution, Madison and Adams, Trump says pish posh. After all, the Founders obviously never had a casino to build, so what could they possibly know about making America great?

The sobering reality is that Trump remains an enthusiastic supporter of government seizing private property. In fact, long before Kelo, Trump was busy targeting private property for his business gain. In the 1990s, he went after New Jersey widow Vera Coking, attempting to use eminent domain to take her Atlantic City home for, of all things, a limousine parking lot for his Trump Plaza Hotel.

Trump may be tough, but he picked the wrong fight messing with a Jersey girl. Coking retained the right to her property, but had to go through a costly, multi-year court battle to do so.

In the frightful scenario of a Trump administration, one can only imagine how many Vera Cokings would have to appeal to the courts to keep their homes — and trust to hope that the court doesn’t use Kelo against them.

Of course, assuming he holds the keys to brilliance, Trump suggested conservatives simply need eminent domain explained to them — then they’ll love it, too.

Yeah, that’s it. If only Trump had explained eminent domain to conservatives (“It’s great, it’s really great, and I’ll make it even better!”), we wouldn’t have spent all those centuries protecting private property rights against tyrannical governments — and against people like Trump.

What were we thinking?

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.