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Trump's Visit To Scotland Comes During EU Referendum Vote


Donald Trump is taking a break from the campaign for a couple days to focus on business. He'll be in Scotland visiting his golf courses. But things are rarely simple when it comes to Donald Trump, and his visit coincides with today's big referendum in Scotland and in the rest of the United Kingdom. Voters are deciding if the U.K. should leave the European Union, something Donald Trump supports. Alex Salmond represents Scotland in the British House of Commons. He has some strong views about both Donald Trump and the big vote.

ALEX SALMOND: Scotland will vote very heavily for remaining, and that's not just because we'll vote the opposite way from Donald Trump's wishes. There's bit more to it. Unfortunately for the Donald, he doesn't really figure enough calculations on this. Scotland is a very pro-European country so we'll probably be the most pro-European part of the United Kingdom. I think - and, of course, it's Election Day and nothing is certain and it's a close result, but I think the overall result will be for staying in Europe basically because Scotland, Northern Ireland and London will balance the vote in favor of Europe.

GREENE: OK, you've gotten a couple of digs in there on Donald Trump already. I want to let you just have at it now for just a minute or so. I mean he's dedicating a golf resort that his company has redeveloped. It sounds like there are not going to be any Scottish political figures of any stature joining him, including you. You're not planning to go. Why is that?

SALMOND: Well, I was actually asked to open his previous golf resort in the northeast of Scotland. Basically, I said no to him over his demands that everybody else in the country should obey his edicts as far as our energy policy was concerned.

GREENE: I mean he was worried that there would be energy infrastructure that would get in the way of the golf courses, right?

SALMOND: Which was ludicrous. I mean it was miles away. It was 11 turbines, an offshore demonstrator for wind technology in Aberdeen Bay that everybody else wanted. But Mr. Trump set about a legal action, which he lost three times in court, but of course it had the result of delaying the project by vital years. And in that delay, the project is now in jeopardy.

So as soon as you say no to Donald Trump, he turns from being your greatest supporter into your sternest critic. And I don't mind criticism in politics, but what I do mind is somebody investing in Scotland and then believing that gives them the right to own the country. It doesn't.

GREENE: But let me ask you, though, I mean some people are comparing Donald Trump's recent successes - becoming the presumptive Republican nominee in this country to the push for the U.K. to quit the EU - as sort of a movement in our countries and the world to reject the establishment. I mean shouldn't that be taken seriously?

SALMOND: I think I'm afraid some of the forces at work are a bit more sinister than that, that Mr. Trump's (unintelligible) on prejudice - in your case, prejudice against Mexicans, prejudice against Muslims. In the case of the Out campaign in the U.K., it's prejudice against immigrants. Now, in Scotland of course, we don't have that view, and in fact we are very welcoming of people from elsewhere in the world. Just as so many Scots, like Donald Trump's mother, were economic migrants to the United States of America in the 1920s. And what we can't about Mr. Trump is why someone whose own family benefited from the welcoming reception that they got as economic migrants from Scotland in the United States of America can't hold out his heart and is welcoming to migrants from other countries.

GREENE: OK. We've been speaking with Alex Salmond. He's a member of Parliament representing the Gordon District in Scotland, which is part of the United Kingdom and taking part in the vote today on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union.

Mr. Salmond, thanks so much.

SALMOND: Great pleasure. Thank you very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.