The PJ Tatler

Will Kelo Decision Finally Sink Donald Trump?

Donald Trump’s high standing in the polls is attributable entirely to the fact that he’s not a Washington insider, not part of the racket, and despite his wealth really might actually give a damn about the Little Guy. So why is he saying things like this?

Donald Trump on Wednesday defended government property seizures as a “necessary thing,” even when it means involuntarily taking property from a private owner to transfer it to another business. Trump was speaking to reporters outside the capital statehouse moments before formally filing his candidacy for the February primary, and the Washington Examiner pressed him on his record of using eminent domain laws to expand his casino empire.

“Property rights are a big issue in New Hampshire,” the Examiner noted. “In Atlantic City you used eminent domain laws aggressively to expand your casino.”

Trump interjected by calling this a “stupid question” before launching into a defense of eminent domain. “I am all for private property rights,” Trump said. “There’s nobody who wants property taken away less than I do, believe me. I would lose a lot of money if my property were taken away. But when you’re building a road, when you’re building a highway, when you’re building whatever it is you’re building from a municipal standpoint, you may need a corner of a piece of property.” As he said this, he pinched his fingers together to demonstrate the smallness of the property.

The abstract reasoning may be sound — although in the Supreme Court’s disgraceful Kelo decision it certainly was not — but the optics are terrible. It smacks of Romneyism, a cluelessness about how ordinary people live their lives.