One of the SNP’s most senior figures has claimed that Scotland stands united against Donald Trump ahead of the US president’s arrival north of the Border today.
The party’s depute leader, Keith Brown, said Scotland rejected the president’s “politics of division” as he prepared to join up to 10,000 Scottish protesters expected to take part in anti-Trump demonstrations north of the Border.
Shortly before Mr Trump is due to touch down at Prestwick Airport for his first Scottish visit since entering the White House, Mr Brown will make a hard-hitting speech attacking the president in George Square, Glasgow.
Ahead of his speech, Mr Brown said: “Scotland today stands united – with people from all backgrounds and all nations – against Donald Trump. We will send a message to Donald Trump that Scotland rejects the abhorrent treatment of little children on the US-Mexican border.
“Scotland opposes his attempt to wreck the Paris Climate Agreement and his vilification of Muslims. We also oppose his barbaric language and treatment of women. Our message will be clear: Scotland rejects Trump’s politics of division and hatred and we stand with our friends in the US who oppose him.”
Mr Brown’s participation in the rally will be seen as an attempt to underline the SNP’s anti-Trump credentials at a time when a presidential visit poses a difficult dilemma for Nicola Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon has made her disapproval of Mr Trump plain in the past, but her position as First Minister means she also has to acknowledge that he is the elected leader of the free world.
Mr Trump has not sought a meeting with Ms Sturgeon, even though her spokesman has said she would consider such an approach.
Instead, the president will spend the weekend at his golf resort at Turnberry where he is expected play a round on the famous championship links tomorrow.
Even though his trip is expected to mobilise several thousand protesters in Glasgow today and in Edinburgh tomorrow, Mr Trump said that he felt he was popular in Scotland. Describing Turnberry as a “magical place”, Mr Trump reminded journalists that his mother was born in Scotland at the Nato press conference held before he flew to the UK yesterday for the first leg of his four-day visit.
Mr Trump said he had “great friendships” in Scotland.
“There might be protests, but I believe that the people in the UK, Scotland, Ireland, I think those people, they like me a lot. And they agree with me on immigration – that’s why you have Brexit in the first place, because of immigration,” the President said.
Organisers of the Scotland United Against Trump protest in Glasgow’s George Square are hopeful that their event will attract legions of protesters. Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Green MSP Patrick Harvie are expected to speak at the event.
The SNP MP Tommy Sheppard will address a similar rally in Edinburgh on Saturday. Last night Mr Sheppard said: “President Trump is spearheading an international campaign to make bigotry and intolerance acceptable. The more he tries to enhance his reputation the more we must disassociate with him.”
At around lunchtime yesterday Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump landed in Air Force One at Stansted Airport in Essex.
Last night Mr Trump and his wife were the guests of Prime Minister Theresa May at a black tie dinner with business leaders at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. After spending the night at the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House in London, Mr Trump will today join the Prime Minister at a military base. There they will observe a joint counter-terrorism exercise involving UK and US special forces.
The serious business will continue with talks at the Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers, where Russia, Brexit and the Middle East will top the agenda. Mr Trump will then travel to Windsor Castle to meet the Queen before heading to Scotland for what has been billed as a private part of his trip.
At Turnberry he is expected to prepare for his summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
After landing on UK soil, the US leader gave a brief wave to the crowd before descending from Air Force One, to be met by dignitaries led by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. They couple spent a few moments greeting the welcoming committee before stepping into the Marine One helicopter to be taken to London.
The couple were greeted by Beatles music and the sound of protesters when they arrived by Marine One helicopter at Winfield House, the US ambassador’s official residence in Regent’s Park.
Later there were more jeers when they left by helicopter for Blenheim Palace.