Donald Trump declared “it’s great to be home” as he landed in Scotland on Monday to visit his golf resorts ahead of a trip to Ireland.
The former president, who is running again for the White House in 2024, was in Aberdeen to cut a ribbon to mark breaking ground on a new, second course at his Menie Estate.
He arrived with son Eric and was greeted at Aberdeen Airport by pipers, a red carpet and 10-vehicle motorcade.
“It’s great to be home, this was the home of my mother,” Trump said.
His mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides before emigrating to the US. The new course at Menie will be named after her.
At his Aberdeenshire resort, Mr Trump said he was going to build “a great golf course”.
“We’ve had a lot of pleasure in working on this land and there is no other land like it,” he said. “We have incredible views by the sea and there are no other dunes like these in the world. It will be a great success.
“This project is very close to my heart and I am delighted to say that this is our first day of work on the new course.
“It will be dedicated to my late mother and that is a source of great pride to me and my family. My mother was an incredible woman who loved Scotland.
“She returned here every year and she loved the Queen. I got to know the Queen too during my visits here I love Scotland just as much.”
Following his time in Scotland, Mr Trump will head to his course in Doonbeg on Ireland’s west coast.
The billionaire, seen by many as the presumptive Republican nominee for 2024, said his campaign is “on his mind”, stressing that a victory for him would make America “greater than ever before”.
But since leaving the White House, Mr Trump has continued to face a cloud of lawsuits and investigations, which has culminated in him becoming the first current or former US president to ever be charged with a crime.
On 30 March, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Mr Trump on criminal charges over the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 presidential election. A few days later, Mr Trump pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to a slew of criminal charges.
Mr Trump also faces legal trouble in his native New York over his business practices.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records to hide damaging information ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Trump had previously spent two days at his Turnberry course while in office in 2018, meeting Theresa May and the Queen during the visit.
Asked last week if he will meet Mr Trump, who has made controversial statements about Muslims in the past, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I would find it difficult, I have to say, to meet with him without raising the significance of concerns I have of the remarks that he’s made in the past.”
Mr Trump is also currently facing a civil trial brought by E Jean Carroll, who has alleged she was raped by him close to 30 years ago and that he has now defamed her by denying it happened.
His lawyer Joe Tacopina has been scolded by the judge due to his “argumentative, repetitive, and inappropriate” questioning of the alleged victim about why she didn’t scream during the alleged rape in a dressing room in Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store. Judge Lewis Kaplan also became impatient with the attorney and warned him about his line of questioning.
Ms Carroll took the stand again on Monday, telling the federal court jury she was a “member of the silent generation”, taught “to keep our chins up and to not complain”.
She said she had only called police once in her life. “The fact that I never went to the police [about Trump] is not surprising for somebody my age,” she said. “We were not trained to call the police, ever.”
Mr Tacopina, who has requested a mistrial, said the judge has made several “unfair and prejudicial” rulings, but the judge denied the motion.