Donald Trump’s bizarre praise for Scottish paramedics detailed in new book

Donald Trump extolled the virtues of Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) paramedics while arguing for the rollout of a nationalised health service during his time as US president, a new book claims.

During his time in office, the 76 year-old made the case for a healthcare system similar to the Scottish NHS, seemingly on the basis of little more than his impression of male ambulance staff in Scotland, according to the tome.

The book, ‘Confidence Man’, written by veteran New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman, claims that ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections, Mr Trump appeared confused by the healthcare debate, but went on to make the startling proposal to officials.

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“For Trump’s part, his staff believed he plainly did not understand how the healthcare system worked, and was hearing from conflicting voices just as he was on immigration,” Ms Haberman wrote. “He agreed to back a lawsuit that would gut existing regulations in the name of the free market while praising nationalised healthcare systems.

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“’Why don’t we do that here’, he asked, after recalling an experience he’d had in Scotland. He recounted to aides the physical appearance of the male ambulance drivers he had seen there as part of his endorsement of that nation’s approach.”

The circumstances of Mr Trump’s encounter with SAS staff are unclear, but either way, his radical suggestion was never taken up.

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The incident is among a host of bizarre and, at times, startling claims detailed by Ms Haberman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has covered Mr Trump extensively over the years.

Her biography of the former president recounts Mr Trump’s conversations with world leaders, including his first meeting with the-then prime minister Theresa May, who visited the White House in January 2017.

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Donald Trump plays at his inaugural Scottish golf course in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty
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Donald Trump's firm to pay £225,000 to Scottish Government to cover legal bills
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Ms Haberman said during a wide-ranging conversation that spanned abortion, immigration and the Scottish roots of Mr Trump’s mother, he “appeared to get bored” after the discussion turned to Northern Ireland. Mr Trump then allegedly “turned the conservation to an offshore wind project he wanted to block near his Scottish golf course” – a reference to the long-running and acrimonious court battle waged by the Trump Organisation against a development by the Swedish firm Vattenfall.

Ms May’s response is not noted by Ms Haberman, but as revealed by The Scotsman three years ago, the company behind Trump’s Aberdeenshire property paid the Scottish Government £225,000 to cover its legal bills after being defeated in court.

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Elsewhere, Ms Haberman’s biography, which draws on interviews with more than 200 sources, as well as three interviews with Mr Trump himself, claims the former US president asked whether the American military could bomb Mexican drug laboratories, and assumed that black Democratic congressional staff members were waiting staff.

Journalist Maggie Haberman. Picture: Leigh Vogel/Getty for The New York Times
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It also claims Mr Trump came close to taking to Twitter to fire his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, both of whom were senior White House aides in his administration.

Mr Trump, who has yet to declare whether he will run for the presidency again, has dismissed Ms Haberman’s book, describing it as a collection of “many made-up stories, with zero fact checking or confirmation by anyone who would know, like me”.

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