POLITICS

Donald Trump Calls Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond A 'Has-Been' Boasting An 'Overinflated Ego' Amid Wind Farm Row

16/12/2015 16:07 GMT | Updated 16/12/2015 18:59 GMT
Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
File photo dated 27/05/10 of Donald Trump visiting the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire before his golf resort was built, as the US presidential candidate said he will continue to fight against an offshore wind farm project near the resort after losing a battle in the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump has launched a withering assault on Alex Salmond, labelling the former Scottish First Minister a “has-been” and mocking his “overinflated ego”.

The row broke out after the US Presidential hopeful lost an appeal against planning permission for offshore turbines near his Aberdeenshire golf course, which was granted when Mr Salmond was Scotland’s most senior politician.

Mr Salmond, who stepped down from the position and as SNP leader after last year’s Scottish independence referendum, called the property magnate a “three times a loser” after losing another court judgment to derail the scheme.

But Mr Trump promptly hit back at the “totally irrelevant” MP - and ribbed him for recently unveiling a portrait of himself at the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh on the same day as David Cameron set out the case for bombing Syria.

alex salmond portrait

A Trump organisation spokesman said:

“Does anyone care what this man thinks? He’s a has-been and totally irrelevant. The fact that he doesn’t even know what’s going on in his own constituency says it all. We have a permanent clubhouse and the business is flourishing. He should go back to doing what he does best: unveiling pompous portraits of himself that pander to his already overinflated ego.”

It is the latest spat involving the would-be Republican Presidential candidate and British politicians after last week calling for Muslims to be barred from the US and claiming London is so radicalised police officers “live in fear”. At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier in the day, David Cameron labelled the remarks “divisive, stupid and wrong”.

The Supreme Court in London today rejected Mr Trump’s appeal against planning permission for the turbines within sight of his Menie golf resort that was granted by Scottish ministers.

Scottish Government ministers had approved proposals for an 11-turbine scheme off the Aberdeenshire coast in 2013.

But Mr Trump, president of the Trump Organisation, said the wind farm would spoil the view from his luxury golf links at the Menie Estate - and argued that ministers were wrong to give the project the green light.

Earlier in the day, Mr Salmond released a lengthy statement after being First Minister at the time of the original approval and he is now “free to speak my mind” - and contended Scots American are “likely to join the ever growing list of people alienated by Trump”.

It read:

“These proceedings have been dragged out for years through three successive court judgements by Donald Trump as he tried to stop an offshore Aberdeen wind turbine demonstrator by means of legal action.

“In doing so he has at best postponed, and at worst jeopardised, a vital £200 million boost for the economy of the North East of Scotland. The offshore project could have been built by now with Aberdeen benefiting from becoming the offshore wind research centre of Europe – a vital development at a time of rock bottom oil prices.

“The last time Trump was beaten in Court he blamed the Scottish judicial system. Now he has been beaten in the UK Supreme Court.

“As First Minister, I was cited in Trump’s legal action. Now that it is concluded, I am free to speak my mind on the damaging impact of his interventions on the Scottish economy.

“First, he has failed to meet the claims he made for the Menie Estate Golf complex. He has created a fine golf course, but it doesn't even have the original scale of clubhouse, far less the claims of thousands of jobs and billions of investment through a hotel, housing and leisure complex. Overall, the investment has been estimated at less than one tenth of what was promised. He has submitted further plans this year, but we are now seven years into the project with very slow progress.

“Second, by his unacceptable behaviour he has condemned Turnberry, one of the outstanding golf courses on the planet, and the scene of two of the greatest Open Championships since the war, to Open Championship oblivion. There is no way the R&A will go near the Ayrshire course while Trump is in charge. As a result Scotland stands to lose the £100m economic return from a Turnberry Open.

“Third, this delay in the offshore wind demonstrator is deeply damaging to Scotland’s hopes of being on the cutting edge of that new technology. It would have been great for the North East to have that new string to our bow at this time of low oil prices. Trump has delayed that opportunity.

“His behaviour and comments are unlikely to attract the votes of many Mexican Americans or Muslim Americans. Given his treatment of Scotland, Scots American are likely to join the ever growing list of people alienated by Trump."

Mr Salmond, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, explained he missed the Syria debate as he attended a "full briefing" a day earlier from the security services and the joint chiefs about the Syria situation and there was "nothing in the PM's statement which was of surprise or new".

Supreme Court justices analysed the wind farm case at a hearing in London in October and today dismissed Mr Trump's challenge.

A spokesman for the Trump Organisation said the fight would continue on "every possible front".

"This is an extremely unfortunate verdict for the residents of Aberdeen and anyone who cares about Scotland's economic future," said George Sorial, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation.

"The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will completely destroy the bucolic Aberdeen Bay and cast a terrible shadow upon the future of tourism for the area.

"History will judge those involved unfavorably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish Government's dangerous experiment with wind energy."

Mr Sorial said planning conditions remained "unpurified" and suggested that "plummeting" oil prices and money shortages might prevent the completion of the project.

He added: "We will evaluate the court's decision and continue to fight this proposal on every possible front."