Nicola Sturgeon has indicated she would be prepared to meet Donald Trump despite her disappointment at his election to the White House.
The First Minister’s spokesman said Ms Sturgeon was “not going to turn her back on engagement with the US government” when asked if she would be open to a meeting with the new president-elect.
Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman added that Mr Trump was “perfectly free” to come to Scotland when asked if he would be welcomed to his mother’s homeland and the place where he has invested in golf resorts at Turnberry and the Menie Estate.
The First Minister’s spokesman made the remarks at a briefing which followed a First Minister’s Questions that saw Ms Sturgeon repeat her reservations at the billionaire businessman’s success in the American election. Mr Trump’s victory was raised at Holyrood by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who described the president elect as “a misogynist” who had “boasted about assaulting women and used the most degrading language possible”.
The Labour leader added: “Of course, Donald Trump’s intolerance is not just aimed at women – we all remember the sickening sight of him mocking a disabled journalist.
“We can’t forget his plans to build a wall or ban people of one faith from entering America.”
Ms Sturgeon replied by acknowledging that she had been criticised for making public her support for Hillary Clinton, but added that she would always speak out against views that she found repugnant.
The First Minister said: “During the campaign, I found so many of president-elect Trump’s comments to be deeply abhorrent and I never want to be – I am not ever prepared to be – a politician who maintains a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind.
“We hope that president-elect Trump turns out to be a president who is very different from the kind of candidate that he was and that he reaches out to those who felt vilified by his campaign.
“People of progressive opinion the world over have to stand up for those values of tolerance and respect for diversity and difference.”
Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman was asked repeatedly if the First Minister would meet Mr Trump.
The spokesman said: “The First Minister made it clear...that she’s not going to turn her back on engagement with the US government. Of course she’s not.
“But in terms of president-elect Trump, she hopes that as president Trump he will be different to candidate Trump in terms of some of the views he espouses.”
Asked whether Mr Trump would be welcome in Scotland, the spokesman replied: “He’s perfectly free to come here, as he has on many occasions.
“Whether he comes here as president or not remains to be seen, but he obviously has close links to this country.”
At Holyrood Ms Sturgeon was asked what assessment she had done of the impact on Scotland of Mr Trump’s election.
“The Scottish Government will continue to monitor developments during the transition period between now and January,” she said.
“I was struck yesterday by comments made by the German chancellor Angela Merkel when she said she wanted to have a constructive engagement with the new president, but wanted that to be engagement based on values of respect for all, of tolerance and of diversity, and I echo that sentiment.
“The relationship between Scotland and the United States of America is a strong one, it is one that I believe will endure, so, as the elected First Minister of Scotland, I want to engage positively and constructively with the American administration, but I will never, ever shy away from standing up for these important principles.”