Leader: Scottish security alert over potential Trump visit

Donald Trump surrounded by bodyguards at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Donald Trump surrounded by bodyguards at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
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The question is being asked with increasing frequency, and not a little trepidation: does a state visit by the new president of the United States raise the prospect of the occasion incorporating a symbolic visit to Scotland, birthplace of Donald Trump’s mother, Mary MacLeod?

It’s not an honour many of us would care to stand on ceremony for, although we shouldn’t worry because UK state visits normally involve every moment of the guest’s time being devoted to all the pomp that gilded London can put on parade. The prospect of Trump venturing north of the border should also be diminished by his poor relationship with the Scottish Government.

Yet, like it or not, we have an ongoing relationship with the billionaire businessman through the investments at the Menie Estate and Turnberry which bear his name. And in normal circumstances, the rise of the owner of two golf resorts to become leader of the free world would be considered something of an advantage. Not when it’s Trump, however.

Today, we report that counter-terrorism experts believe that the Trump golf resorts could be viewed as “soft targets” by terror groups. And at the very least, they are likely to become a focal point for protest and demonstration in Scotland.

We have already seen anti-Trump campaigners on the streets in Scotland, but a heightened risk of targeting is the last thing we need. Upgraded security at Trump’s properties is now essential, and fortunately the only dispute over who foots the bill appears to be whether the US authorities or the Trump Organisation picks up the tab. These measures must be put in place at the earliest opportunity, to provide reassurance to guests as well as to local communities. This is not a responsibility that should fall to Scottish authorities.

There has long been a tendency to treat Trump as a joke figure, but the consequences of his power game in Washington are no laughing matter – especially on the Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire coasts.