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Trump Visits Scotland As Scots Plan Protests


The president is spending the weekend at a Trump golf course in Scotland - a place he often says is one of his favorites. His mother was born in Scotland, and he praises the landscape and the people - calls them beautiful. For some Scots, the feeling is not mutual and has not been for a long time, as NPR's Alice Fordham reports.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Singing) Fascists will never get any respect from me.

ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: As Trump landed in Scotland yesterday, protesters against him filled Glasgow's George Square, basking in rare sunshine. One Matthew Sweeney (ph) was wearing a sombrero in solidarity with Mexico and said he considers Trump part of a worrying trend.

MATTHEW SWEENEY: We're kind of scared about fascism, both in America, and across Europe since what's going on in Italy and Poland. And it's all really grim. It's sort of like the '30s again. Things that we thought we had got rid of are kind of coming back.

FORDHAM: And Fatima Adam (ph), who was born in Sudan, said she'd been personally impacted by the immigration policies implemented under Trump.

FATIMA ADAM: If you remember last year that there was, like, a ban against seven Muslim countries. So it got my sister, for instance. She couldn't go to the U.S. because of that. Like, she had a scholarship for a course in diplomacy, and she couldn't go. So I kind of - like, I remember we were, like, trying to speak to the American embassy, and they wouldn't pick up.

FORDHAM: Fatima (ph) moved to Scotland recently. And, as it happens, she's the only person who isn't white, and the only Muslim in her new job in insurance. She says everyone is respectful and warm - kind of the opposite of the experience her sister had. It's jarring for her to hear Trump say he loves the Scots.

ADAM: I mean, if he loves Scotland, then he should love also, like, the culture of Scotland. And Scottish people are really welcoming, so it just doesn't feel right.

FORDHAM: Of course, not everyone in Scotland dislikes Trump. The Glasgow protest was lively, rather than enormous, although another one is happening today in Edinburgh. And some Scottish politicians welcomed Trump. But the head of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon, criticizes him often. And because of those golf courses, Trump has a long and pretty controversial history here.


MICHAEL FORBES: Give this man a job, he says. Give this man a job. I said I've got a job. Then he kept saying it. Three times, he said it. Give this man a job. I said I've got a bloody job. I don't want a job.

FORDHAM: That's Michael Forbes, a farmer, being asked about his first meeting with Trump in the 2011 documentary "You've Been Trumped." It told the story of people who refused to move off land Trump wanted for a golf course, or to take him up on his offers of work. Trump said at the time that Forbes' home was an eyesore.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's almost like - in fact, it is like a slum-like condition. For people to have to look at this virtual slum is a disgrace. Mr. Forbes is not a man that people in Scotland should be proud of.

FORDHAM: Forbes was named Top Scot of 2012 in an unscientific poll run by the whisky brand Glenfiddich. The man who made that documentary, Anthony Baxter, says that today, he's horrified by treatment of migrants in the U.S.

ANTHONY BAXTER: The way that he treated the residents in Scotland was a precursor to that. He bullied them. He harassed them.

FORDHAM: Just before the demo, I spoke with comedian Janey Godley, a prominent Trump critic who said many Scots admire those locals who took on Trump.

JANEY GODLEY: It has that thing where, you know, it's the art of the deal. It's me. It's Donald. Throw money. Your house is a tip (ph). Get it pulled down. And the people went, nah. We're Scottish. We don't - you can't roll us over. We're not going to do it.

FORDHAM: Godley said that Scottish people had grit to them and did not care to be bullied. Alice Fordham, NPR News, Glasgow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alice Fordham is an NPR International Correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon.