Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon has poured cold water on rumours that Donald Trump was set to visit, saying even the US president was subject to coronavirus travel restrictions.
“We are not allowing people to come into Scotland without an essential purpose right now, and that would apply to him just as it would apply to anybody else,” she said.
“And coming to play golf is not what I would consider to be an essential purpose.”
Speculation has grown that Trump, who is still refusing to concede his election defeat to Joe Biden, might skip his rival’s January 20 inauguration and travel to his Turnberry golf resort in western Scotland.
The Sunday Post newspaper reported at the weekend that Glasgow Prestwick Airport had been told to expect the arrival of a US military Boeing 757 aircraft, the type is occasionally used by Trump, on January 19.
However, Scotland faces a new fast-spreading coronavirus variant that developed in England and has imposed tough rules including an almost total ban on international arrivals and departures.
Sturgeon, who has criticised Trump in the past, told reporters she had “no idea” of his travel plans, joking that she hoped they would be “to exit the White House.”
US aircraft activity
While Trump’s Turnberry resort did not respond to a request for comment, a Glasgow Prestwick Airport spokesperson told AFP news agency, “We can confirm that we are not expecting a visit from Donald Trump in January.”
The White House has previously said he is yet to finalise his plans for January 20.
If the US president snubs his successor’s inauguration, it will break with more than a century of tradition.
The Sunday Post said locals had reported days of US Army aircraft activity over Turnberry in November, fuelling rumours of a visit.
Trump owns two resorts in Scotland: the Trump International Golf Links Scotland in Aberdeenshire, in the northeast, and Turnberry, in southwest Ayrshire.
His mother was from the Isle of Lewis off the Scottish west coast.
‘I can’t protest’
Previous visits to the sites have prompted protests from the president’s critics, but if he did visit later this month the coronavirus restrictions would be likely to prevent a large-scale repeat.
“I hear Trump is coming to Scotland but I can’t protest at Turnberry as we are in lockdown and can’t leave our postcode,” Glasgow-based comedian Janey Godley wrote on Twitter.