Donald Trump

It’s actually really hard to believe sometimes that Donald Trump is for real. I don’t follow @realDonaldTrump on Twitter, because who wants that kind of thing in your timeline? But he’s always good for a laugh when you want one. So the question is: Does he do it on purpose? This is a multi-billionaire who appears to regard running for President as a useful means of self-publicity. Is his Donald Trump persona – arrogant beyond belief, childishly certain that people admire him, blusteringly furious at people who get in his way – just assumed, a performance?

Donald Trump's double combover If so, is the double-combover part of it? You’d have to be the kind of person who surrounds himself with sycophants and who ignores any personal criticism whatsoever to think that growing what’s left of your hair long and folding it to cover your bald scalp looks anything but completely stupid. (Mind you, it’s impressive that whatever product his hairdresser uses, the double-combover holds – not for Trump the occasional long flowing locks and glimpse of scalp in a high breeze.)

Well, okay, maybe in a really high breeze. Donald Trump's combover

Donald Trump does not like the film You’ve Been Trumped. It’s understandable. It shows the Menie dunes before he vandalised them: it shows Trump exercising his financial clout with the Scottish government to override the decision of Aberdeen local authority: it shows the local families being harassed and their homes made virtually unlivable by this gross billionaire’s scheme for a golf course.

In his petty, vindictive way, Donald Trump actually tried to stop it being shown on the BBC and complained loudly on Twitter that the film was terrible and that he was loved in Scotland.

The film depicted one particular farmer, Michael Forbes, who refused to sell his 27 acres to Donald Trump and got castigated by the billionaire across the world’s media: and who won Top Scot at the Spirit of Scotland awards on St Andrew’s Day.

Michael Forbes, receiving the award, said simply “I’m speechless,” but afterwards told the Scotsman: “I actually thought the award should have gone to Anthony Baxter, who made the documentary. I’ve no idea what Donald Trump will make of the award. I’m sure he’ll have something to say about it at some point.”

As Lesley Riddoch memorably said back in April:

Donald Trump: an unsavoury blend of Midas and King Canute; an uncomfortable fusion of Simon Cowell and Andrew Neil. It’s hard to think of a less sympathetic character in the eyes of most Scots. Despite all his tartanry and trumpeting of heritage, The Donald is almost the anti-Scot personified.

Left and right, unionist and nationalist, man and woman, young and old – it takes quite a lot to unite the people of this notoriously fractious little country in a collective shudder. But Donald Trump effortlessly manages to strike the wrong note in just about everything he does.

The sheer toe-curling thick-skilled arrogance of Trump is … almost unbelievable.

[Trump] sneered at locals in modest homes who wouldn’t move out of his way. He bragged about his power and wealth. He designed a hotel that made Disneyland look culturally authentic. He staged, posed toe-curlingly brazen photocalls. He struck a bullying manner with staff, reporters, supporters and opponents.

He made endless reference to Hebridean roots – among root-bound Scots unaccustomed to the endless and self-conscious display of national credentials. He used pictures of rusting Hawaiian wind-turbines in misleading Scottish newspaper ads to oppose a renewables test centre supported by every political party and business organisation in the north-east.

In his bizarre appearance before Holyrood’s energy committee, Trump explained his opposition to the planned European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre – a test centre that should help reduce the need for onshore wind farms – by calling it a “tourism-crushing eyesore”. Asked for proof, he responded with the unforgettable line, “I am the evidence.” It grabbed headlines – it also sealed the man’s fate.

I don’t think Donald Trump’s antics actually come across any better in the US than in Scotland, but it’s true that in Scotland he is almost comically the caricature of the worst kind of American tourist. Put him on a stage at the Fringe and people would assume it was a performance.

Is it? Can he be for real? Could anyone be so thick-skinned not to realise how appalling he sounds? Well, when you look at the combover, maybe.

Of course, Trump’s awfulness is not the really important question of Menie. Lumbering blustering combover Trump is a distraction from the big questions that need answers – why did the Scottish government override Aberdeen’s planning decision? What does this say about the SNP’s supposed committment to letting Scots make decisions for ourselves, that they were willing to flatten a local authority at the behest of an American millionaire?

As Michael Forbes said:

“I wouldn’t say I’ve been vindicated, because I have never had an apology from Trump — not that I was expecting one — or from Alex Salmond, who was the man who backed Trump’s golf project in the first place.

“The pressure might tell, because there are a lot of questions still to be answered.

“Anybody who saw the documentary [You've Been Trumped] will understand that we still haven’t learned the full story of what happened with that golf course.”

“It’s good that people are still asking questions, and I hope they keep on doing so.”

Update, oh my. Donald Trump’s actually made a statement.

From Donald Trump’s statement:

To think that a product like Glenfiddich would recognise a man like Michael Forbes, who lives in a property which I have accurately described in the past as a total pigsty; a man who loves the attention he has gotten because of his so-called fight with Donald Trump, would receive an award over someone like Andy Murray, a Scot, Olympic Gold Medal Winner, and the first British man to win a Grand Slam title in 76 years. Glenfiddich should be ashamed of themselves for granting this award to Forbes, just for the sake of publicity.

Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products. People at our clubs do not ask for Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons. I hereby call for a boycott on drinking Glenfiddich products because there is no way a result such as this could have been made by the Scottish people. It is an insult to both Andy Murray and Scotland itself.

Glenfiddich’s choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland. If Glenfiddich had integrity, they would investigate who voted, and would find that the votes formed part of an organised campaign with multiple votes made by a small group of detractors who are angry that they not only lost, but lost so badly.

Update
A spokesman for William Grant and sons, the makers of Glenfiddich, pointed out

“Working with Scotsman Publications as our media partner, Glenfiddich established the awards fifteen years ago. From the outset it was made clear that winners would be chosen by public vote. Top Scot is a totally open category in which the people of Scotland can vote for whomsoever they choose and Glenfiddich has no influence on this decision.”

Donald Trump ranted on Twitter:

William Grant & Sons:

“In the history of these awards, we are not aware of the Top Scot award causing any offence or upset to anyone and it is not our intention to do so now. These awards were set up to give the people of Scotland a vote and we must respect their decision.”

We just don’t like you, Donald.

Update

A day later, despite having been presented the “Legendary Icon of the Year Award” by his first wife and son at MegaPartnering VI in Los Angeles, in front of an audience of 650 very rich people, Trump is still ranting about how Scots prefer Michael Forbes to himself:

We just don’t like you, Donald. I don’t like whisky much, and I like Glenfiddich much better than I like you:

Glenfiddich was the first distillery with a visitor centre, which receives 125,000 visitors per annum and underwent a £1.7 million rebuild in 2005. World famous, Glenfiddich is the number one top-selling single malt whisky not only in the UK, but also globally. Following the end of the Second World War and the resultant surge in whisky demand, Glenfiddich was a relatively small brand and faced hefty competition from the blended scotch brands which held a veritable monopoly on the market.

Rather than competing directly, the Glenfiddich distillery concentrated on single malt sales and in 1963 became the first Scotch whisky to be marketed as such, flying proudly in the face of critics. The gamble paid off and eleven years later sixteen new stills were installed to cope with demand.

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