Nicola Sturgeon has said she will meet US President-elect Donald Trump if the opportunity arises, telling a magazine she is “sure” the tycoon turned world leader will visit Scotland during his term in office.
The First Minister said in an interview with the Big Issue that “if the opportunity is there, I’d meet him”, despite previously condemning Mr Trump’s campaign rhetoric on women, immigration and minorities.
Speaking to actor Alan Cumming, she said: “Obviously he spends time in Scotland, he has Scottish ancestry, and if he comes – as I’m sure he will – he’s the President of America and if the opportunity is there, I’d meet him.
Ms Sturgeon adds: “I’ve written to him to congratulate him. I don’t think it’s any secret that I would rather that he hadn’t been elected. But he has, and so I’m going to respect that but I’m not going to abandon my own values, just as I’m sure he’s not going to abandon the things he believes in.
“Hopefully we can have a relationship based on values, although I do hope he does abandon some of the values that he campaigned on. He’s going to be the President of America. There’s no point in pretending otherwise.”
The First Minister responded to Mr Trump’s election by saying she would not be “a politician who maintains a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind.” Her spokesman left the door open to a meeting, saying Ms Sturgeon was “not going to turn her back on engagement with the US government”.
Last week the two leaders spoke on the phone for the first time since the US election at the start of November. In the interview published today, Ms Sturgeon reveals she has never met Mr Trump, who owns two golf resorts in Scotland.
The First Minister also told Mr Cumming that she was “tempted” to stand an SNP candidate in England, claiming many voters there “feel completely disenfranchised that there is nobody speaking up for them”.