|He promised all green energy site (it never happened) he destroyed the dunes instead. Promised and promised. No love lost in Scotland for the Donald. Today he stepped on Scotland soil a supporter of E.U. and dissed on the E.U.|
As the Donald descended from the steps of Trump Force One and attempted to shield his wayward hair from the easterly winds sweeping across the Tarmac of Aberdeen airport, he would have expected a frosty reception. Trump, ignoring the record-breaking petition calling for him to be banned from the UK for “hate speech”, is in Scotland as part of a whistlestop tour of his two Scottish golf courses. The first port of call will be Turnberry – now renamed Trump Turnberry – after an investment claimed by the Trump Organisation to be £200m. But it is at his Menie estate in Aberdeenshire where the Mexican flags are flying high.
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. Trump, of course, has pledged to build a 2,000-mile wall along the Mexican border “very inexpensively” to stop “rapists and drug dealers” from entering the US if he becomes president. And as the residents of the Menie estate know only too well, Trump has form on walls.
As I documented in my first Trump film, You’ve Been Trumped, at the crack of dawn one morning in 2010, the billionaire’s bulldozers sprang into action and began dumping thousands of tons of earth around the homes of local residents Susan Munro and David Milne, after the tycoon had branded their houses ugly. Trump’s builders (who had no planning permission for these works, according to the residents) had already been caught on camera, burying trees in an enormous hole next to the mounds of earth piled up to shield Forbes’s farm from the view of Trump’s golfers. Trump had blasted Forbes on national television for “living like a pig” and his working farm “a pigsty”.
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 materialize – much to the relief of local residents who fear it would destroy another stretch of wild dunes.
The non-partisan website PolitiFact has determined that Trump’s campaign statements are riddled with an astounding number of outright falsehoods. That’s hardly news to Forbes, who has the phrase “NO MORE TRUMP LIES” daubed on one of his farm sheds. Forbes has watched for more than a decade as the Trump claims and promises have come to nothing. The 450-bedroom hotel has never been built. The 1,500 houses failed to materialise. Instead a golf course for the wealthy now stands between him and his salmon fishing boat, with Forbes complaining he is unable to access the beach to fish.
Trump claimed his Menie estate golf course would be “environmentally perfect”. But in fact it destroyed the ability of the sand dunes to move and shift naturally, something that was highlighted by every credible environmental group in the land when his plans were first submitted.
Trump also insists he has been a good neighbour. But local residents think otherwise. In April, a woman walking on the dunes near Trump’s golf course was charged by police and accused of “a disgusting and shameful act” by the Trump Organization. Her crime? Answering a call of nature. This incident shook local residents, who had hoped the police had learned lessons after spending years appearing to act like a private security force for Trump. I should know. The police arrested me and threw me in jail, for daring to ask why Molly Forbes who is now 92, had her water supply cut off by Trump’s bulldozers.
He has used his money and access to power and the media to intimidate ordinary people
The bullying of local residents and failure to deliver on economic promises are perhaps the main reasons why the billionaire’s popularity rating in Scotland is at rock bottom. Former first minister Alex Salmond, who once enthusiastically welcomed the Trump development, now says the billionaire “couldn’t get elected the dog catcher” in Scotland. And as Trump steps up the rhetoric in his campaign to be president, with ideas such as banning all Muslims from the US, it is little wonder that Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen finally saw sense and stripped him of the ludicrous honorary degree he received in 2010.
While there has been endless debate about the many outrageous statements that Trump has made during the presidential campaign, the events at the Menie estate prove that what Trump says and what he does are two very different things. Here he used his money and access to power and the media to intimidate ordinary people; he made outrageous promises to hoodwink the gullible (including, alas, the Scottish government); and he showed a breathtaking disdain for the environmental toll of his relentless pursuit of personal gain. It is a cautionary tale for Americans going to the ballot box in November, and for the people of Britain, who have lost, for ever, an irreplaceable part of our common natural heritage.