DONALD Trump yesterday boasted that Brexit will boost business at his Scottish golf resorts and claimed the decision might well lead to the country voting Yes in a second independence referendum.
After a morning which threatened to relegate him to the unfamiliar territory of the news cycle’s periphery, the presumptive Republican nominee sought to stamp his inimitable presence on an historic day, drawing hundreds of international press to his Turnberry course to take a swing at Prime Minister David Cameron and promote his business empire.
“If the pound goes down, they’re going to do more business, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly,” he said when asked for his take on the Leave vote. “I think it’s going to end up being a great thing and the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful thing is the people have taken their country back.”
He described Mr Cameron as “a good man,” but said he was “wrong” over his stance on Europe. “He didn’t get the mood of his country right,” Mr Trump concluded.
Asked by The Scotsman if Brexit might lead him to scale back – or scrap altogether– his future investments in Scotland, he replied: “No, if anything, I have big investments over in Europe. I have as you know my phenomenal hotel and golf course in Ireland, Turnberry and Aberdeen. I think you understand.”
He added that should he become the 45th president of the US, his Scottish assets would be put into a trust and managed by his children and senior executives.
Such a possibility may seem remote to some, but if the past 24 hours are any guide, the unpredictable can easily come to pass. Mr Trump’s visit was a surreal occasion on a day that had already veered off like a wayward tee shot towards the fantastical, never to return.
It began shortly after 9:10am when the 70-year-old, never one to shy away from a grand entrance, touched down in his branded helicopter on the lawn outside his hotel. Wearing a suit and white baseball cap bearing the slogan, Make America Great Again – a sartorial blend of business, politics and leisure – he was greeted by a phalanx of pipers and staff, all wearing red baseball caps emblazoned with the slogan, Make Turnberry Great Again.
Two hours later, he and the fourth estate reconvened for a 50-minute-long press conference, where the magnate was in expansive mood, deliberating in his trademark scattergun oratory style – one rich in malapropisms and repetition – on matters such as Scottish independence and the likely end of the European Union.
On the former, Mr Trump stressed any decision following a second referendum would be “up to the people of Scotland”.
“I love the people of Scotland,” he riffed, glossing over the fact he mistakenly referred to Turnberry’s location as being in Florida just minutes before. “That’s why I built one of the greatest courses of the world in Aberdeen. The people of Scotland are amazing people, and that question has to be addressed to them.”
There was, however, a caveat. “It was a nasty period and I can’t imagine they’d go through that again,” he added. “But the people of Scotland may speak differently.”
On a day when the British economy all but fell off a cliff, Mr Trump’s customary self assurance seemed to shine especially bright. In fact, renovating a Scottish golf course, he mused, was not dissimilar to the work required in order to make America great again. “They’re both things that have to be fixed, and no-one is better than building and fixing than me,” he said.
I love the people of Scotland. That’s why I built one of the greatest courses of the world in Aberdeen. The people of Scotland are amazing people, and [the independence] question has to be addressed to themDonald Trump