Donald Trump was back on the Great Dunes of Scotland last night – hours after stunning America by announcing he may run for president.
The billionaire touched down at Aberdeen Airport in his private jet to begin a three-day visit to his £750million golf resort under construction at the Menie Estate.
Before he left New York, however, he declared his interest in taking on Barack Obama in the 2012 race for the White House.
He told the P&J last night he genuinely felt he was the man to fix America’s domestic problems – and his family was ready to run his business empire if he stands.
“A lot of people have been asking me to run for president,” Mr Trump said. “I am having a lot of fun doing what I am doing and today I am in Scotland having fun.
“But America needs help. I haven’t made a decision, but a lot of people want me to do it. I think I could do it – but it is a big commitment and something I must think about.
“It would mean not being able to run the business like normal. I would need to have others involved, like my children, who are very capable, so that wouldn’t be a problem.”
There is uncertainty in the US whether Mr Trump would stand for the Republicans or as an independent, but last night he was in no doubt.
“Some people have been asking me for years (to run for president),” he said. “I am a Republican and, if I decide to do it, it will be for them.”
Mr Trump walked through the back nine holes at his would-be championship course near Balmedie yesterday, making the adjustments he hopes will help create the world’s greatest course.
Today, he will walk the front nine with his team before a series of meetings about the clubhouse design and renovations at the site.
He said: “I am here to walk the course with (designer) Martin Hawtree. We have just walked the back nine and much work has been done.
“The 18 holes have all been started. The back nine is absolutely incredible and it is largely shaped.
“We have now sited the clubhouse. We are designing it right now and it is going to be really beautiful.”
Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen will present Mr Trump with an honorary doctorate of business administration tomorrow. The award of the degree has led to protests and angered the university’s former principal, but Mr Trump was focusing on the positives yesterday.
He said: “I am very honoured by the degree from a great university. It is a great recognition of what we are doing for Scotland, so I am really taking it as a compliment for my whole team.”
Campaigners handed a petition to the university yesterday asking for the honour to be retracted. RGU says it is to recognise Mr Trump’s “business acumen” and commitment to the north-east.
Aberdeenshire Council had backed Mr Trump’s masterplan to build two golf courses, a £250million hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses. The local authority is currently considering further plans for a maintenance unit that would include workers’ accommodation and a mechanics’ workshop.
The championship course will open in 2012 and will be one of the longest in Europe, at more than 7,400 yards off the championship tees.