DONALD Trump could back Scottish independence in a future referendum, according to one of the US president’s key former advisers.
You’ve got to look at ‘Does it economically make sense?’ ‘Is there a future that is connected to devolution?’ He’s a pragmatist.SEBASTIAN GORKA
Sebastian Gorka, who worked in the White House until August, said Mr Trump “believes that nation states prosper when they are sovereign”.
The US president previously said Scottish independence would be “terrible” because the country could lose the right to host the British Open golf tournament.
Asked whether Mr Trump might favour the break-up of the United Kingdom, Mr Gorka said: “If it makes sense. You’ve got to look at the nickel and dime at the end of the day.
“You’ve got to look at ‘Does it economically make sense?’ ‘Is there a future that is connected to devolution’?
“He’s a pragmatist.”
Mr Gorka added: “So if it makes sense, pragmatically, why wouldn’t he support it? I’m not saying he’s there.
“But he is somebody who looks at the reality, not the utopia.”
The comments came in a BBC documentary entitled Donald Trump: Scotland’s President, which will be broadcast this week.
Mr Trump’s predecessor as president, Barack Obama, was widely seen to have come down on the side of the Union during the last referendum when he declared that the US had a “deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner”.
During that campaign, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton – who lost to Mr Trump last year in the race for the presidency – said a Yes vote would be a “loss for both sides”.
But despite Mr Trump’s more recent opposition to Scottish independence, he struck a more ambivalent tone at the time of the referendum campaign.
He tweeted: “Good luck to the people of Scotland, whatever their decision may be.”
Mr Trump was also an enthusiastic supporter of Brexit, insisting people “want to see borders”, although this was a comment on the immigration issue.
The billionaire has often expressed his love of Scotland, which is the birthplace of his mother Mary Anne Macleod, who was from Lewis.
He also owns Turnberry Golf Course and the Trump International Golf Links at Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.
His antagonism towards independence coincided with a bitter fallout with former First Minister Alex Salmond over plans for an offshore windfarm next to the links course.
But Mr Salmond said Mr Trump’s endorsement could damage Scottish nationalists.
He said: “The cause of Scottish independence depends on many, many things. It depends ultimately on having a vision of the future where you look at how Scotland is governed and how the world is governed in a positive, enlightened, progressive way.
“I cannot feel that Donald Trump would do anything other than damage that vision by association.”
Dr Gorka is a controversial, British-born, former deputy assistant to the president who was known for his hardline views on issues such as immigration and terrorism.
He left the White House in August, shortly after Mr Trump sacked his chief strategist Steve Bannon.