Donald Trump has close links to Scotland, where his mother was born and where he owns two golf courses. In one of his most high-profile trips abroad since becoming the presumptive Republican candidate for US president, he’s visiting his ancestral homeland on Friday, June 24.
Based on recent evidence, the Scots may not be all that pleased to see him.
Trump’s mother, Mary Macleod, was born in 1912 in Tong, a village on the Isle of Lewis, which lies in the Outer Hebrides. The island is a three-hour ferry ride off the northwest coast of Scotland, where the wind is so strong that local officials wondered if it would keep Trump from visiting because it wasn’t “bouffant friendly,” the Wall Street Journal reported in 2007.
When he visited in 2008, he spent 97 seconds inside the house where his mother was born, The Guardian reported. He also handed out copies of his books, How to Get Rich and The Art of the Deal, to his second cousins. Trump’s relationship with Scotland has worsened since then.
Trump’s Scottish golf courses have been a source of contention ever since he built Menie, in the northern province of Aberdeenshire, and purchased the historic Turnberry course in the south for $60 million.
The construction of Menie rand into local objections and environmental hurdles. Trump campaigned furiously against offshore wind farms, which he said would spoil the view. But his war on wind failed given that renewable energy is one of Scotland’s new major businesses.
Earlier this week, a group of residents living close to Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course planted a Mexican flag on its border:
“The point of the flag is to show solidarity with the Mexicans and every other group that Trump has decried, derided, insulted, and tried to marginalise,” David Milne, part of a group which planted the flag, told Buzzfeed.
Meanwhile, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the 260-year-old governing body of the Open tournament in Britain, has shunned Turnberry, the southwest Scotland course Trump bought in 2014. The organization said in February that it won’t hold the British Open at Turnberry in 2020 reportedly because of Trump’s anti-Muslim comments. Turnberry, which last hosted the Open in 2009, was considered a top contender for the 2020 contest.
Martin Slumbers, the group’s chief executive, said of the decision: “We as an organisation have said that we believe golf should be open to all, regardless of gender, race, nationality or religion, and that’s where we sit.” Earlier this year the R&A removed Muirfield, which had hosted the Open on 16 occasions, from its rota of Open courses because members voted against admitting women.
Trump was awarded an honorary degree by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2010. In 2015, the institution stripped him of the honor, after Trump called for Muslims to be banned from entering the US. The University said Trump’s comments where incompatible with its ethos.
In 2006, Trump was also named as a business ambassador by the Scottish government, but a spokeswoman for the current administration said, following his comments about Muslims, that he was “no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland.”
A farmer who refused to sell his land to Trump for his golf course near Aberdeen was named the country’s “Top Scot” in 2012. After he was given the award, the farmer, Michael Forbes, recalled his first meeting with Trump:
He was being all nicey, nicey and talking about how successful he was and how much money he had. That was it for me. I took an instant dislike to him. He called me a village idiot and accused me of living in a pigsty but I think everyone knows by now that he’s the clown of New York.