White House denies Trump planning Scotland trip after Sturgeon tells him he’s not allowed to visit because of Covid

Country’s first minister warned that playing golf was not ‘essential purpose’ in lockdown

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
,Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 05 January 2021 20:25 GMT
Sturgeon says Trump coming to play golf in Scotland is ‘not essential travel’
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Donald Trump does not have plans to travel to Scotland, the White House has said, amid reports the US president was planning on travelling to Turnberry to escape Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month.

In a statement to The Independent, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said such reports were “not accurate” and that “President Trump has no plans to travel to Scotland”.

It comes after Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, suggested that Mr Trump would be unable to visit Turnberry to play golf, due to local coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

"Coming to play golf is not what I would consider to be an essential purpose," said Ms Sturgeon. 

The White House had refused to deny reports that an airport in Prestwick, near to Mr Trump’s Turnberry resort, was preparing for the US president’s arrival the day before Mr Biden’s inauguration. 

“I have no idea what Donald Trump’s travel plans are, you’ll be glad to know," added Ms Sturgeon.

“I hope and expect that his immediate travel plan is to exit the White House, but beyond that I don’t know.

“We are not allowing people to come into Scotland now without an essential purpose, which would apply to him, just as it applies to everybody else."

Scotland has been placed in a month-long lockdown in an effort to combat the new, faster-spreading variant of Covid-19.

Schools have been closed until February and residents can only leave home for essential activities, such as shopping for groceries, medical appointments, personal exercise and caring responsibilities.

Mr Trump’s company owns two golf courses in Scotland, where his mother Mary Trump was born.

The outgoing president bought Turnberry, a 112-year-old resort, for $67 million in 2014 and has sunk more than $218 million into it to date.

But the seaside golf course and hotel has never made a profit and, according to its accounts, lost almost $3 million in 2019.

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