- - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

TURNBERRY, Scotland — Summer is in full swing on Scotland’s idyllic west coast. But Donald Trump is set for a chilly reception on his forthcoming visit here and in Ireland next week for a quick tour of his real estate holdings.

On June 22 Mr. Trump, who has Scottish ancestry, plans to touch down here to mark the official reopening of the luxury Turnberry golf resort he has been redeveloping at a reported investment of $285 million. He is tentatively scheduled to fly on to Ireland to check on another of his golf resort investments, although new reports this week cast some doubt on whether that part of the trip will come off.

For American voters, the trip — Mr. Trump’s first outside the country since winning the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee — could provide a sneak preview into the kind of reception a President Trump will receive if the billionaire developer and reality-TV star triumphs in November. With a sizable U.S. press contingent already signed up for the trip, the locals in both countries are debating how hospitable to be to the visitor from America.

Protesters in both countries have vowed to make him feel unwelcome on account of what critics say are his prejudicial views on Muslims and Hispanics.

“We have to oppose Trump and show that he is not the international statesman he likes to pretend he is,” said Jonathon Shafi, a human rights activist organizing the Scottish protests and who lives near Mr. Trump’s luxury development in Glasgow. “He flaunts his Scottish roots and heritage, but his politics [have] nothing in common with the values of the Scottish people.”



If Trump is hoping for a less stormy reception in Ireland, he’ll likely be disappointed.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at a media briefing late last week that he would receive Mr. Trump as a potential U.S. president and business leader. But crowds of protesters are also expected to hound Mr. Trump on the Emerald Isle, and some are already warning that the crowds should mind their manners.

“If Trump’s visit to Ireland this month is marked by unseemly behavior in the streets, or by indulgent moralizing in the [Irish parliament], it will make little difference to his campaign. It may even help it,” Colum Kenny, a columnist with The Irish Times, wrote earlier this month.

“But it could permanently damage Ireland’s relationship with the White House during any Trump presidency,” he warned.

Mr. Trump’s mother, Mary MacLeod, emigrated from Scotland’s west coast to America in the 1930s. Her outspoken, Queens-born son regularly speaks about his connection to his ancestral homeland.

Though there was some talk the trip might not come off, Mr. Trump recently confirmed — via his beloved Twitter feed — that he was on his way.

“It’s very exciting that one of the great resorts of the world, Turnberry, will be opening today after a massive 200 million investment,” he tweeted. “I own it and I am very proud of it. I look forward to attending the official opening of this great development on June 24th.”

Despite his major investments and job-creating efforts here, the affection has not always been reciprocated.

Earlier this year, activists occupied Mr. Trump’s golf course in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, waving Mexican flags to show their support for Hispanic-Americans and holding “Muslims welcome” signs.

Muslim groups in Edinburgh invited Mr. Trump to visit them to learn more about Islam in the country. He declined the invitation.

Donald Trump aspires to lead the free world, but his run for the White House has been rooted in ignorance and intolerance,” said Hafiz Ghafoor, a local mosque leader in the Scottish capital. “Before he makes another inflammatory speech, Mr. Trump should learn more about the Muslims that he offends almost every time he opens his mouth.”

The reception stands in stark contrast to when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama journeyed to Europe prior to his election in 2008. Mr. Obama encountered vast, wildly cheering crowds who embraced his pledge to improve ties with European partners following the sometimes-rocky relationship under President George W. Bush.

Brexit battle

On a recent visit to London, Mr. Obama encouraged British voters to stay in the European Union. Advocates of the so-called “Brexit” criticized the president, saying Americans would never accept leaders in a foreign city dictating their laws and tax policy. But Prime Minister David Cameron and others who wish to remain in the EU welcomed Mr. Obama’s comments.

Mr. Trump has commented in favor of Britain’s exit from the EU, citing primarily the bloc’s failure to set effective, enforceable policies on immigration. While he will be traveling on private business, Mr. Trump will coincidentally be setting foot in Scotland the day before the national Brexit referendum.

Mr. Trump’s recent experiences in Britain have been the reverse of candidate Obama’s.

Earlier this year, British lawmakers proposed banning him from the country following his call to prohibit Muslims temporarily from entering the U.S. because of security concerns. At the same time, then-Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stripped Mr. Trump of his status as an honorary global ambassador for the country.

While backing Britain’s leaving the EU, Mr. Trump took the opposite tack on Scottish independence, opposing the country’s proposed breakaway from the United Kingdom that failed to pass in a 2014 referendum.

That position contributed to a nasty feud between Mr. Trump and former Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond, who earlier this year questioned the size of Mr. Trump’s promised investments in the country. In response, Mr. Trump labeled Mr. Salmond “an embarrassment,” citing the Scottish nationalist leader’s 2009 decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan convicted for his role in the Lockerbie bombing. Al-Megrahi was said to be suffering from terminal cancer, but would live nearly three years after his release.

In 1988, hundreds of U.S. citizens as well as Scots perished when a terrorist bomb exploded on a transatlantic flight over the town of Lockerbie near the English border.

In his comments against Mr. Salmond, Mr. Trump also said Scotland’s clean energy projects were the biggest tragedy to befall the country since the Lockerbie disaster.

Most Scots are disgusted with Mr. Trump’s behavior, said Mr. Shafi. If an American politician can come to Britain in hopes of looking presidential for voters back home, then Scots and other Britons can send Americans a message too, he added.

“We also want to show American citizens that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with them,” he said. “There will be labor activists, environmental groups and anti-racism groups. These people represent the views of the vast majority of the Scottish public.”

As in Scotland, the Irish government had welcomed Mr. Trump’s investment when he bought out a luxury golf development on the country’s wild Atlantic coast to add to his profitable portfolio of high-end resorts. With enthusiastic support from Irish economic development officials, he purchased the seaside Doonbeg resort in County Clare for about $14 million and pledged to invest another $60 million-plus into a major upgrade of the property. The property has been re-christened the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland.

But the scheme soon landed in hot water.

Mr. Trump angered Irish conservationists when he applied to build a 50-foot-high rock wall along the natural beach at his flagship Doonbeg resort to keep the sea at bay.

The Irish leg of the trip is also up in the air after the Trump campaign this week released an itinerary for his traveling press corps that only listed a two-day stop in Ireland. The campaign told the Belfast Telegraph Wednesday the schedule is still being worked on, and Mr. Trump hopes to include the trip if possible.

“It is purely a scheduling issue and we still hope to make a stop in Ireland if time allows. The details of Mr. Trump’s itinerary have not been finalized,” a Trump spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Eamon Ryan, an environmentalist and member of the Irish parliament, is ready if Mr. Trump come.

Mr. Ryan is helping to coordinate rallies against the presumptive GOP presidential candidate in Dublin. Because the trip is considered a private visit, Irish government officials are keeping their distance while Mr. Trump is in the country.

“He’s not just here to look at his golf course, he’s here to drum up votes in his election,” said Mr. Ryan. “We think, rather than just sitting back and saying nothing, that it’s right for us to protest.”

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