TRUMP FACT CHECK: Federal public lands already belong to federal taxpayers

Manhattan real estate developer confused over ownership of nation’s public lands

President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters in Iowa that he would “‘end the last administration’s land grab'” – an apparent reference to his administration’s push to end protections for threatened landscapes, such as the Bears Ears area of Utah.

“The Western Values Project is pleased to inform the President that the last administration’s monument designations were on land that already belongs to all American taxpayers,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “It isn’t possible for the federal government to grab land it already manages on behalf of the American people.”

Under the Antiquities Act, monuments can only be created on land “owned or controlled by the government of the United States.” This was true of all the monuments created by President Barack Obama.

“As someone who has made a fortune as a real estate developer the concept of land belonging to all Americans must be foreign to President Trump, so the mistake is understandable,” added Saeger. “We’re happy to clear up this misunderstanding, but we are under no illusions that the President will get the message about this or anything else.”

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