The UK Government would find itself in a “very difficult situation” if Donald Trump pays a visit to Scotland around the time of the presidential inauguration, says a leading politics expert.
Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, has called on UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to give “serious consideration” to denying Mr Trump entry to the UK once he leaves office, following shocking scenes in the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.
The SNP politician said Ms Patel has the power “if an applicant’s presence is not conducive to the public good”, adding that the president “incited a violent mob” after urging his supporters to descend on Washington, DC to protest against Congress’s formal approval of president-elect Joe Biden‘s victory.
It follows speculation about where the outgoing president will be on the day Mr Biden is sworn in as president, January 20, and whether he will attend the ceremony.
Prestwick Airport has been told to expect the arrival of a US Military Boeing 757 aircraft previously used by Mr Trump on January 19, according to The Sunday Post.
Asked about the possibility during her daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the president would not be welcome to play golf at one of his two Scottish golf courses.
‘There are cameras everywhere’
Mr Trump’s company operates two golf courses in Scotland, Turnberry in Ayrshire and Trump International in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.
Christopher Carman, professor of politics at Glasgow University, says it is “not surprising” that Mr Yousaf would make the suggestion for Trump to be barred.
He adds: “He (Trump) has been consistent in downplaying the notion that he would attend the inauguration.
“It wouldn’t surprise anybody if he finds a way not to attend the inauguration.
“I’m not sure why he would come to Scotland versus, say, go to Florida.
“It’s out of the country and maybe he feels like he’d be more isolated from the US media but I’ve been to Turnberry when Trump has been there and you’re not isolated from the media, there are cameras everywhere, so I don’t think that would protect him that much.”
‘A dramatic statement’
Prof Carman said it would be a “dramatic statement” if the UK Government barred either a serving president, or former president, of the United States, entry to the country.
He said: “Once he leaves office, it’s slightly different, but barring is still a dramatic statement.
“As with all things Trump, we’ve never had a president of the United States like this before and we’ve never seen one who has been accused of inciting insurgency in the US.
“The UK Government would find themselves in a very difficult position and it would take a lot of consultation within the government to decide how to handle that situation.”
In some senses Donald Trump’s presidency has been moving towards this moment almost since the moment it started.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
President ‘inciting insurrection’
Politicians from across Scotland have roundly condemned the shocking scenes where a violent mob loyal to Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol and forced legislators into hiding.
The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks while police tried to barricade the building.
A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol and Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.
The police said three other people died from medical emergencies.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “In some senses Donald Trump’s presidency has been moving towards this moment almost since the moment it started.
“But that doesn’t make it any less shocking. What we witnessed weren’t just horrible breaches of law and order, people taking over the seat of democracy, but we actually witnessed the President of the United States inciting insurrection in his own country.
“I think for many people it will take a while to get our heads round that and thankfully there’s only a matter of days of his presidency left and we heard Joe Biden last night remind us what a real leader, what a real democratic leader should sound like.”
Will Trump be welcomed to Scotland?
‘I don’t relish Donald Trump coming to Scotland at any time.’
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 7, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the scenes at the US congress as “disgraceful”, adding “it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power”.
Meanwhile, Priti Patel, the home secretary, told Times Radio that there was “simply no justification whatsoever — his (Trump’s) words were associated with violence and led directly to the violence. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called the scenes in Washington “appalling”, describing the event as the result of the “demagogic actions of Donald Trump”.
“The way is plain” says Biden quoting Lincoln “ peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” The speech tonight of a President whilst the current one skulks tweeting & watching TV in the #WhiteHouse
— Michael Russell (@Feorlean) January 6, 2021
Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, said the rule of law and democracy were “both at stake” on Wednesday in Washington.
The Argyll and Bute MSP added: “There can be no doubt of the outcome nor should there be any that those responsible, including those who incited the actions, must face the full rigour of the law.
“More than America will expect it to be so.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “No country founded on democratic values and the rule of law can tolerate behaviour like this.”
Ruth Davidson, currently Holyrood leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said she would “never have believed a mob could be allowed to storm the Capitol building”.
This is insane.
I love America. I did part of my degree in American History. I have sat in that gallery. I would never have believed a mob could be allowed to storm the Capitol building. Certainly never in the name of a President who refuses to condemn. Utter insanity. https://t.co/6KAyTNFPx8
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) January 6, 2021
However, Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said anyone describing the scenes from Washington as shocking “simply hasn’t been paying attention”.
He adds: “This is the inevitable result of a sustained, deliberate strategy by Trump and his far-right allies to undermine the democracy and the rule of law. Everyone complicit with him is culpable.”
Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands Donald Cameron, who worked in Washington for a year after leaving university, described Trump’s time in office as an “appalling aberration of a presidency”.
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.