Will frequent visitor Donald Trump return to Scotland as US President?

US President Donald Trump. Picture: John Devlin
US President Donald Trump. Picture: John Devlin
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He once described it as “the great nation of my ancestors” but Donald Trump’s dealings in Scotland have been dogged by controversy.

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The US President is fond of invoking his Scottish roots, once declaring “I feel Scottish” on a visit to his mother’s birthplace on the Isle of Lewis in 2008.

The late Mary MacLeod Trump was born on the island before emigrating in the 1930s to the US, where she died in August 2000 at the age of 88.

Mr Trump was a frequent visitor to Scotland during the period when his luxury golf resort on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire was never far from the headlines.

The plans were called in by ministers and approved by the Scottish Government in 2008 despite having been rejected by the local council amid fierce opposition from residents and environmentalists.

Having described then first minister Alex Salmond as “an amazing man”, the two fell out spectacularly following the Scottish Government’s decision to back an offshore wind farm in sight of the £750 million resort.

Mr Salmond became ‘’Mad Alex - the man who destroyed Scotland’’, with Mr Trump taking out full-page advertisements in two Scottish newspapers inviting members of the public to protest the first minister’s support for wind energy.

The billionaire’s fight against wind farms led to a failed court challenge and a bizarre appearance before Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee in 2012 - during which he infamously told MSPs ‘’I am the evidence”.

After Patrick Harvie posted a parody of comedy movie Monty Python’s Life of Brian on Twitter mocking the comment, Mr Trump made a complaint against the ‘’blasphemous’’ Green MSP which was later rejected by the public standards watchdog.

He pledged to turn his back on Scotland after losing the initial stages of the wind farm legal battle, but in 2014 confirmed speculation that he had bought the Open Championship course and hotel at Turnberry, South Ayrshire.

Flying in to Scotland to visit the new resort the following year, he declared that he expected to win the US presidential race.

But by December controversial comments made about Muslims and Mexicans during the campaign ensured his welcome in Scotland was somewhat cooler.

Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Salmond’s successor as first minister, stripped Mr Trump of his status as a business ambassador for Scotland while Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen revoked an honorary degree he was awarded in October 2010.

Mr Trump’s war of words with Mr Salmond was reignited when his court case against the wind farm was thrown out by the UK Supreme Court.

The then MP called the presidential candidate a ‘’three-time loser’’ and attacked him for failing to live up to promises on the economic benefits of the Aberdeenshire course.

The businessman retaliated, threatening to pull hundreds of millions of pounds of investment from business interests including his Scottish golf courses if a petition to ban him from the UK was successful.

The presidential hopeful took time out of his campaign to attend the official reopening of Trump Turnberry on June 24 2016 - the day after voters went to the polls in the EU referendum - declaring that it was a ‘’great thing’’ that the people of the UK had ‘’taken back their country’’.

Ms Sturgeon had criticised Mr Trump during the US election campaign and had voiced her support for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, but was forced to congratulate the new president following his shock win.

Protests against Donald Trump took place across Scotland ahead of his inauguration and he has been repeatedly criticised by politicians for a travel ban on refugees and people from Muslim countries and for his response to deadly violence in Virginia last year.

The president has handed over control of his business empire to sons Donald Jr and Eric, but given his close links speculation has been rife that any state visit will see the return of The Donald to Scotland once more.

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