Donald Trump’s love affair with Scotland has not been without its ups and downs. Since wrapping himself in tartan – on account of his mother’s Gaelic heritage – he has opened a controversial golf course and fallen out spectacularly with the Nationalist government in Edinburgh over a wind farm development that he says is a blight on the coastline. Today, he lost a court case on the subject.
His former friend Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland and ex-leader of the SNP, was quick to describe Trump as a “three time loser.”
Trump responded outrageously, describing Salmond in the following terms in a statement from the Trump Organisation:
“Does anyone care what this man thinks? He’s a hasbeen and totally irrelevant. The fact that he doesn’t even know what’s going on in his own constituency says it all … He should go back to doing what he does best: unveiling pompous portraits of himself that pander to his already overinflated ego.”
That last dig was a reference to Salmond missing the debate at Westminster on Syria recently because he was in Edinburgh unveiling a portrait of himself.
But really, it’s another appalling slur by Trump, isn’t it? Of course, there will Unionists in the UK saying that like a stopped clock Trump had to be right about something eventually, but what nonsense…
Alex Salmond as a totally irrelevant has-been? I mean, the very idea… (Stop laughing at the back Nicola Sturgeon.)
For a full account of Trump and Salmond’s hilarious dealings in the last eight years, Alex Massie has written a must read piece for the Spectator. Particularly extraordinary is the statement that Salmond’s staff tried to get Trump to sign up to when the Scottish government was in trouble in the US over its early release of one of the Lockerbie bombers.
Trump may be annoying, with a strong sideline in scary populist nonsense, but he is not stupid. He refused to sign the statement.
There is a serious point, really. The falling out between two men who seem to be quite similar – outsize egos, both used to getting their own way, cheeky chappie personalites gone rogue – illustrates an eternal truth about leading politicians with overly gregarious public personalities. Those who love the limelight (I mean love it, not see it is a byproduct of what they do for their country) come with big risks attached for the rest of us voters and taxpayers. How they interact with the world around them over the small and sometimes silly stuff, including spats with opponents or aides, demands to get their own way and the blurring of the line between their interests and those of the country, is not inconsequential. It frequently reveals a great deal about their personality and what they are prepared to do to the rest of us to prevail, sometimes with truth as the casualty.
In the case of Alex Salmond, he built a bogus case for Scottish independence on the back of a shameful gamble on the oil price. Thank goodness he lost.
Trump is even more blatant. He still maintains that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey on TV celebrating 9/11 when there is no record of it. Yet he sticks to it, understanding that his target audience has had it with politics as normal and loves his tyrannical tycoon schtick. Worryingly, there is nothing new about what he’s up to. It’s an old story. It’s there, plain to see, in history.