By Thomas Madison
ABC’s Saturday night GOP presidential debate was disgusting! Not because of anything ABC did or did not do, they actually did a commendable job, but rather the audience, which booed Donald Trump repeatedly, and which was chock full of establishment Republicans and their donors. The last thing they want to see is a President Trump and the end of their gravy train.
Well-known political strategist and pundit, Roger Stone, tweeted Saturday, “The HOUSE is stacked – Trump Camp given ONLY 20 tickets – RNC Donors PURCHASED TICKETS.”
In the following exchange between Trump and Jeb Bush, Jeb slammed The Donald for his support of eminent domain, whereby private property may be acquired for the public good.
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Is that all you got, Jeb, eminent domain? If that’s all you can attack Trump on, then he will continue smoking you like a cheap cigar. Trump continually accused Bush of trying to look like a “tough guy,” which he said “doesn’t work very well with him.”
As Trump countered Bush’s claims and the exchange became heated, the audience booed Trump loudly several times. Trump then turned his attention to the crowd, clearly stacked with anti-Trump establishment Republicans and their donors, emphasizing as he pointed to the audience, “That’s all of his (Jeb’s) donors and special interests out there. That’s what it is. And by the way, let me just tell you, we needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets? Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money.” Trump added, “The RNC told us we have all donors in the audience.” The crowd booed again, confirming Trump’s assertion.
Just a side note on eminent domain. It is a necessity. It is unfortunate that a private citizen may have to sell (at typically well above appraised value) part or all of his or her property, but it happens, rarely actually, but it happens. It is for the public good. In the case of the government seizing private property for a private development, it means more tax revenue to ease the tax burden on private citizens, which is for the “public good.”
Bush used the case of Vera Coking, who owned a small house next to Trump’s casino in Atlantic City, as a club to hammer Trump, who had originally wanted Coking’s property for a parking lot for his casino. Coking refused to sell, so the city condemned the property so that it could be purchased by Trump. Coking took her case against the city to court, and won. Trump abandoned the idea, choosing other nearby property for his parking lot instead. Coking’s grandson eventually sold the property at auction in 2014 for a fraction of the price his grandmother was offered for it four decades earlier.
Trump made an outstanding point at the end of his heated exchange with Bush, asking him if he thought the Keystone pipeline (very popular among conservatives) is a bad thing, as thousands of families will lose some or all of their property. Trump pointedly asked Bush if the pipeline was private or public. Bush argued that the pipeline was for public use, which is a lie. He knew it was private when he said it. Trump pointed out, “You wouldn’t have the Keystone pipeline that you want so badly without eminent domain.” At this point Jeb was defeated and he knew it, conceding with a shrug and a goofy grin, “Exactly. I agree.” Bush was totally owned by The Donald.
Trump is absolutely right! Every debate audience is absolutely establishment donors, not regular Americans.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 7, 2016
Bush family dynasty supporters booing Trump only helps him with his base in the year of the outsider.
— Andrea Tantaros (@AndreaTantaros) February 7, 2016
From Brett LoGiurato and Colin Campbell, Business Insider
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump confronted a Republican debate audience that repeatedly booed him during an exchange with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
Their sparring come over eminent domain — the power of the government to force people to sell their private property — which many conservatives have long criticized.
After Trump defended the general concept of eminent domain as a “necessity” for government, Bush jumped in with a specific critique of the developer’s record on the topic.
“The difference between eminent domain for public purpose — as Donald said: roads and infrastructure and pipelines and all that, that’s for public purpose — but what Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That’s not a public purpose. That is downright wrong.”
This was a reference to Trump’s attempted use of eminent domain in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the 1990s, when the real-estate mogul was investing in the city’s casino empire. The woman in question, Vera Coking, refused to sell her home and successfully fought the state’s attempt to seize her land.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who defeated Trump in the Monday-night Iowa caucuses, also hit Trump on the eminent-domain issue in the lead-up to the Iowa vote.
On Saturday night, Bush attempted to continue ripping into Trump, but Trump started interrupting him.
“All right. OK. Jeb, Jeb — he wants to be a tough guy. He wants to be a tough guy tonight. I didn’t take the property,” Trump said, as he and Bush talked over each other.
When Trump got his formal allotment of time, he again mocked Bush for supposedly trying to look like a “tough guy.”
“He wants to be a tough guy … and it doesn’t work very well with him,” Trump said.
It was then Bush’s turn to interrupt. Bush asked how “tough” it was to try and take property from an elderly woman. Trump then shushed him.
“Let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet,” he said.
The audience loudly booed Trump, driving the back-and-forth off the rails. Trump said audience members were all members of the Republican establishment.
“That’s all of his donors and special interests out there,” Trump said of the people booing him. “That’s what it is. And by the way, let me just tell you: We needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets? … Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money. That’s who it is.”
The booing continued. Trump said he was self-funding his campaign, so Republican donors weren’t a fan of his candidacy.
“The reason they’re not loving me is I don’t want their money. I’m going to do the right thing for the American public,” Trump said.
He was booed again shortly after.