Trump gets in a round of golf in Scotland but finds no respite from protests

An anti-Trump protest march in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 14, 2018.
An anti-Trump protest march in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 14, 2018.
(Robert Perry / EPA-Shutterstock)

Another day on British soil — and another round of protests against President Trump.

The U.S. president was booed by demonstrators while he enjoying a round of golf at one of his luxury Scottish resorts Saturday, the closest the protesters have got to him during this four-day visit to Britain. Trump was part of a group playing a hole near the perimeter of the course when he came within sight of around a dozen protesters who were staging a “protest picnic” on a nearby beach.

They chanted “Trump is a liar!” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist U.S.A!” and booed.


The president, who was about 100 yards away, briefly looked in their direction before resuming playing golf and later waved as he was driven away in a buggy. Police, some on horseback, formed a long line between Trump and the demonstrators and snipers kept a lookout on nearby watchtowers.

President Trump waves as he plays a round of golf on the Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry, his luxury golf resort in Scotland, on July 14, 2018.
(Andy Buchanan / AFP/Getty Images)

Despite tens of thousands of people taking to the streets of London and other major British cities on Friday, it wasn’t until Trump set foot in Scotland that demonstrators were able to get close to him.

On Friday evening, as he arrived at his Turnberry resort on Scotland’s west coast and was surveying the view out over the golf course, a paraglider flew overhead carrying a flag that said: “Trump: Well Below Par.” The president was immediately ushered inside.

A Greenpeace protester flying a microlight passes over President Trump's resort in Turnberry, Scotland, on July 13, 2018, with a banner reading "Trump: Well Below Par."
(John Linton / Associated Press)

Greenpeace claimed responsibility and said the airborne protester was speaking out against the president’s environmental and immigration policies. Police said Saturday that they were looking for the paraglider, who was wanted on charges of breaching a no-fly zone.

A few dozen protesters also gathered outside another of Trump’s golf resorts in Aberdeen, in the east of Scotland.

But the bulk of the anti-Trump campaigners took to the streets of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

An estimated 10,000 people marched peacefully and waved banners accompanied by a bagpiper and tambourine band.

The so-called “carnival of resistance” also saw the reemergence of the “Trump Baby” blimp — a 20-foot-high orange and yellow balloon resembling Trump as an angry baby in a diaper holding a cellphone. It was flown in the sky near Parliament in London on Friday as tens of thousands marched to voice their anger at Trump’s visit.

Trump has been trying to relax over the weekend after spending two busy days in and around London, where he engaged in important trade and security talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and enjoyed tea with Queen Elizabeth II.

He may have hoped that he would get a respite in Scotland, where his mother was born and where he owns the resort at Turnberry and the golf course in Aberdeen.

When he built the Aberdeen course, on the east coast, he was met with a multitude of objections from environmentalists and local politicians. In the Scottish press he has frequently been described as the neighbor from hell, and his visits now are always met by protest.

Protesters on a beach near Turnberry golf club, Scotland, on July 14, 2018.
(Peter Morrison / Associated Press)

On Monday, he flies to Helsinki for an important summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s visit to Britain has caused huge political turmoil, not least because of an interview he gave to the Sun newspaper prior to his one-on-one meeting with May. In it, he questioned her strategy for taking Britain out of the European Union.

He said her approach would “probably kill” a U.K.-U.S. trade deal and was an unprecedented example of a foreign leader meddling in British domestic politics.

He backtracked dramatically Friday during a press conference at which he stood beside May and told reporters a trade deal “will absolutely be possible.”

He also described relations between Britain and the United States as “the highest level of special” and heaped praise on May, even though he had also told the Sun journalist that he thought the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make a great prime minister. On Saturday, the fallout over Trump’s visit continued, with the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox saying those who had come out to voice their anger and opposition to Trump and his policies were “an embarrassment to themselves.”

“When you have the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, being greeted with signs that say: ‘Go home. We hate you,’ I don’t think that reflects the genuine good manners and hospitality of the British people,” he said.

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn hit back, saying people have a right to demonstrate and to free speech.

A small group of demonstrators also took part in a “Welcome Trump” rally near parliament in London on Saturday. They joined forces with a right-wing “Free Tommy Robinson” protest in support of the leader of an anti-Muslim group who is in jail for contempt of court.

Police said they arrested a dozen people for suspected public order offenses.

Boyle is a special correspondent.


4:00 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 10:15 a.m.