George Sorial, who oversaw the US president’s firm’s controversial expansion into Scotland, also dismissed Scottish Government officials as “stupid,” and mocked the mounting costs behind the Scottish Parliament building, claiming it demonstrated “what kind of grasp on reality some of the politicians in that country have.”
The extraordinary broadside against Scotland’s political class and establishments comes in a new book, co-authored by Mr Sorial, in which he rails in detail against the country’s “antiquated” planning system.
It comes at the Trump Organisation is seeking planning approval from Aberdeenshire Council for a major expansion of its lossmaking Trump International Golf Links resort, near Balmedie.
The book, ‘The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars with Trump’, presents an insider’s account of Mr Sorial’s 12 years working under Mr Trump, who is billed in flattering terms throughout.
Only yesterday, the 72-year-old recommended the publication to his 61 million Twitter followers, describing it as a “really wonderful” book written by “two people who are very smart and know me well.”
Mr Sorial’s co-author is Damian Bates, a former editor of Scotland’s Press & Journal newspaper turned public affairs executive and lobbyist, who in 2013 married Sarah Malone, the executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links.
Both men have been promoting the book on social media, with Mr Bates posting a photograph of himself standing alongside Mr Trump in the Oval Office. Another picture uploaded to his Linkedin account sees him standing next to Boris Johnson in a post which features an endorsement from the Tory leadership contender.
Several of the book’s chapters are focused on Mr Trump’s dealings in Scotland. However, it is the resumption of hostilities against Mr Salmond that will likely generate the most interest this side of the Atlantic, with Mr Sorial penning a scathing account of the first meeting between the two men in New York.
The tension was not over the finer points of Mr Trump’s fledgling golf resort, or the Scottish Government’s renewable energy commitments, but rather a clash of culinary cultures regarding the venue for their dinner.
According to Mr Sorial, Mr Trump wanted to meet at a “regular” restaurant, only for Scottish officials to make “ridiculous” calls and book an upmarket eatery.
Mr Sorial recalls: “They chose a high-end French restaurant, and there was not a word of English on the menu. It was so fussy, and I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my God, what have they done here?’ All Trump said after studying the menu was, ‘All I want is a shrimp cocktail and a steak’.”
Mr Sorial, who also served as chief compliance counsel at the Trump Organisation until parting ways with the firm this month, also hit out at the “antiquated and parochial Scottish planning system,” which was “not the most welcoming to developers from the other side of the Atlantic.”
The book also sees him admit to being “incandescent with rage” after Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure committee threw out the plans for Mr Trump’s inaugural Scottish resort in November 2007. The Scottish Government controversially called in the plans and approved them the following year.
The local authority will soon consider plans for second phase of Trump International Golf Links. The Trump Organisation promises to spend £150m building up to 500 homes, as well as a sports centre, town hall, and retail and commercial space. A record number of 21,640 people have objected to the scheme.
Elsewhere in the book, published yesterday by Broadside Books, a conservative-leaning imprint of HarperCollins, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group, Mr Sorial also lashed out at those critics of Mr Trump who stress he has damaged the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) his north-east property was partly built on.
A draft site condition and monitoring report prepared by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2016 concluded that “part of the site has been destroyed or damaged by the construction of the golf course on Menie.
However, Mr Sorial wrote: “We have tremendous respect for the environment, but the area we were looking to develop composed less than 5 per cent of the SSSI - and 95 per cent of it remains untouched, despite what the fake news has written or said about it.
“There was an imperceptible environmental sacrifice, but the business benefits more than justified the change.”
He added: “Those dunes stretch for something like nineteen miles, along some of the most rugged and beautiful coastline you’ll ever see. We hardly touched them during construction. We wanted that to be the centrepiece of the site: the beauty that God created.”
The book also describes in detail how Mr Sorial and Mr Bates met several times with Mr Trump at Turnberry and Florida, as well as Washington DC, where the three men dined in the White House’s Blue Room on sea scallops, thyme-brined chicken breast, and honey-glazed puff pastry.