Real estate mogul Donald Trump Sunday fired back at Republican presidential rival Jeb Bush on the subject of eminent domain, pointing out the Bush family once benefited financially from the government’s power to seize private property for public development without owners' consent.
During Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate on ABC, Bush noted Trump tried to use eminent domain — a controversial topic among conservatives — to “take property from an elderly woman in Atlantic City.”
“And the simple fact is to turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is a not public use,” the former Florida governor said.
On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning, Trump defended the concept of eminent domain before turning the issue against Bush.
“Eminent domain is a very important thing,” Trump said. “Jeb Bush doesn’t understand what it means. And if you look into the Bush family — I found this out 5 minutes ago. They used eminent domain for the stadium in Texas where they owned, I guess, a piece of the Texas Rangers.”
Before he was elected governor of Texas, George W. Bush was a part-owner of the Texas Rangers. When the Major League Baseball team sought a new stadium in 1990, voters agreed to fund the bulk of construction costs with a sales tax increase, ESPN reported. The following year the Rangers persuaded the Legislature to pass a bill empowering a new “quasi-governmental entity” to use eminent domain, the sports network reported. The city of Arlington then used that power “to acquire the property from hundreds of private owners,” Reason magazine reported.
When it was pointed out it was George W. Bush, and not his brother, who benefited from the use of eminent domain, Trump dismissed the argument.
“Doesn’t matter — it was the Bush family,” Trump said. “They used private eminent domain. He didn’t tell anybody this. So, I mean, he should have told people. He probably doesn’t know, because I don’t think he even knows what eminent domain is.”