Donald in Scotland: No man’s a (profit) in his homeland
Trump, who maybe even more than Teddy Roosevelt, aspires to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral, couldn’t help himself. He must have thought: I have a plane and, damn it, there’s no way I’m going to let the Brits take me out of the news cycle that long.
Of course, Trump’s appearance in Scotland wasn’t any different just because he was across the Atlantic. It featured Trump’s greatest hits: Tone-deaf selfishness, as reported in the Washington Post, misleading comments about how successful his operation ‘Trump Turnberry’ had been and was going to be, a lot of self-congratulations, and a complete misreading of the political climate in Scotland.
As the Guardian reported, Scots in general were displeased with Trump’s grandstanding, including the townspeople he had promised wealth and opportunity once his luxury resort was established. The residents in Aberdeenshire are even putting up Mexican flags in protest:
Michael Forbes and David Milne, who were among the residents Trump threatened with compulsory purchase orders when they refused to sell him their properties to make way for a luxury golf resort, have hoisted the flags in a show of solidarity with the people of Mexico.
As for the grand plans that made all of this destruction of people’s homes ‘worth it?’
In many ways, Trump’s loss-making development at the Menie estate is a microcosm of what’s been going on during his run for the White House. When Trump pledged to be the “jobs president”, Scots were quick to remember his broken promises on jobs. Trump claimed he would create 6,000 jobs through his golf course resort and spend £1bn building the “greatest luxury golf resort in the world”. In fact, no “resort” was ever built. Around 100 jobs have been created on the Menie estate and a single golf course is in operation, along with a granite-clad clubhouse. It is estimated he has spent less than 5% of the original investment pledged. Plans for a second golf course have yet to materialise — much to the relief of local residents who fear it would destroy another stretch of wild dunes.
How can Trump claim to be a politician that gets the working man, or who is loved by the working man, when, in fact, he takes their properties and then squanders the investment? Bad business is bad enough, but removing people from homes, with all of the memories, emotions and independence that the word “home” entails, is just plain nasty. Conservatives, libertarians, liberals — we should all be able to agree that kicking people out of homes in the name of billionaire-led private development is bad policy. It’s even worse when there’s no follow through.
As if Trump’s own projects weren’t enough bad news for this trip, Trump forayed into international events. Trump congratulated Scotland on voting to leave the EU, but, as you likely know by now, they didn’t. The Scots overwhelmingly wanted to stay in, and Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party leader, indicated that another Independence referendum is an option with the hope of re-upping with the EU.
I understand that keeping up with world events isn’t always easy, but Trump’s constantly connected to Twitter. Didn’t he even think to look at #brexit before speaking? What’s next? Congratulating Tibet for voluntarily joining China?
After getting Scotland’s position wrong on the referendum, Trump responded to fears about the effect Brexit would have on the economy. Here’s what he said, according to a transcript annotated by Chris Cillizza:
Look, if the pound goes down, they’re going to do more business. You know, when the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly...The pound got high, and people weren’t able to do maybe what they wanted to do, but for traveling and for other things, you know, I think it could very well turn out to be a positive.
There he goes again, thinking about what’s best for Donald. His gut reaction wasn’t, as many of his supporters would like to believe, that the UK would be safer from terrorist threat (a debatable proposition), but rather that it would be good for him personally, and for people who want to travel (presumably to Turnberry). So, not only did Trump take off for Great Britain in order to hog the news cycle, he also blew it when he tried discussing the event he was there to upstage.