Richard Leonard chaired a meeting of campaigners, trade unionists and politicians today to discuss how best to respond to a possible visit to Scotland by Donald Trump.
The Scottish Labour leader invited his counterparts from other parties to discuss a united response by “those who believe the US president should not receive the red carpet treatment” of a state visit, although it is not thought any of them took up the offer.
The Scottish Government said today it had not received any notification from the UK Government regarding a visit from Mr Trump, whose mother was famously born on the Isle of Lewis.
In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie, sent in advance of the meeting, Mr Leonard said: “I am appalled at the prospect of President Trump coming to this country on a state visit. It is my view, and that of the Scottish Labour party, that someone who holds such misogynist, racist and anti-trade union views, not to mention dangerous beliefs on foreign policy and peace in the world, and who rejects the Paris Climate Change Agreement, should not be given the ‘red carpet’ treatment.”
He added: “Scottish Labour does not support a state visit by President Trump to the UK and Scotland. If he is to come to Scotland, in such a capacity, it is my strongly held belief that we should let President Trump know that Scotland is united in rejecting his view of the world and his vision for it.
“It is important that we start to organise this united campaign now. I would therefore like to invite you to a meeting that considers our response in the event of a state visit this year.”
The chances of a visit to Scotland by the most controversial occupant of the White House in modern history shot up after Mr Trump told broadcaster and friend Piers Morgan that Scotland is a “very special place” in an interview last month.
“The real me is somebody that loves Britain, loves the UK. I love Scotland,” Mr Trump said.
“One of the biggest problems I have in winning [the presidency], I won’t be able to get back there so often. I would love to go there.”
Mr Trump was interviewed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he became the first US president in 20 years to address the global business elite at the annual gathering in Switzerland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister has previously made it clear that she considered a state visit by President Trump unthinkable at this time.
“Scotland has deep and longstanding ties of family, friendship and business with the United States, which will continue to endure. However, we will not compromise our fundamental values of equality, diversity, and human rights and in the event that the President does visit we would expect these values to be made clear.
“We have not been approached by the UK Government in relation to any proposed visit by President Trump.”