Former U.S. president Donald Trump told waiting reporters that it was “great to be home” as he arrived in Aberdeen for a short visit to his Scottish golf courses.
The private jet of the businessman – whose mother Mary hailed from Lewis – landed just after 11:25 a.m. local time, with the Republican disembarking around half an hour later.
He was met by two pipers, a red carpet, a 10-vehicle motorcade, and Sarah Malone, the Executive Vice President of Trump International, Scotland.
He spoke briefly to journalists, though refused to answer to questions.
Ahead of the visit, he took to Truth Social, the social media platform he founded, to say he would be visiting the Balmedie golf club he owns to open a “spectacular” second course.
He is also due to visit his Turnberry course in Ayrshire.
It is the first time he has been in Scotland since 2018 when he visited during a state visit.
Trump wrote on Truth Social: “The golf courses and hotels are among the greatest in the world – Turnberry and Aberdeen, in Scotland, and Doonbeg, in Ireland.
“Will be meeting with many wonderful friends, and cutting a ribbon for a new and spectacular second course in Aberdeen.
“Very exciting despite the fact that it is ‘make America great again’ that is on my mind, in fact, America will be greater than ever before.”
Asked last week if he will meet Trump, who has made controversial statements about Muslims in the past, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I would find it difficult, I have to say, to meet with him without raising the significance of concerns I have of the remarks that he’s made in the past.”
In 2021, the day after the deadly Jan. 6 riots, Yousaf said the Home Office should “give serious consideration to denying him entry.”
He said the Home Secretary had the power to stop a person coming into the UK if their “presence is not conducive to the public good.”
“Trump’s default is to stir up racial tension and yesterday he incited a violent mob.”
Trump’s visit comes as he faces a number of legal troubles back home.
The controversial tycoon, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 election, is the only former U.S. President to have criminal charges filed against them.
Manhattan’s District Attorney charged Trump over hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Meanwhile, a prosecutor in the state of Georgia is investigating his alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in that state.
Trump is also being probed over his actions in the 2020 election and his retention of highly classified documents after departing the White House in 2021.
This all comes as a special House of Representatives committee investigates his role in the Jan. 6 assault by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
He is also subject to a civil lawsuit, with New York Attorney General Letitia James seeing Trump and the Trump Organization last September for fraud.
And last week, E Jean Carroll, a journalist and writer, was in court after accusing Trump of rape in the mid-1990s.
She claims he defamed her by denying it happened.
Some of Scotland’s political parties were unenthusiastic about the visit.
North East Green MSP, Maggie Chapman said Trump had left “a trail of destruction and broken promises.”
She added: “One thing he can never be accused of is delivering anything positive for my constituents or Scotland, other than staying away for so long.
“Some people in Scotland were blinded by Trump’s promise to bring big business to Scotland. But like he does everywhere, he created a mess and broke his promises.
“This visit is a reminder of all the damage Trump has done. The Menie Estate is responsible for the destruction of the fragile dune ecosystem locally. His dangerous rhetoric has emboldened far-right demagogues, both here and abroad. His broken promises to communities in Aberdeenshire serve as a warning to us all.
“The sooner he returns to the U.S. and faces justice, the better.”
Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur urged Yousaf to look into the financing behind Trump’s courses.
He said: “Donald Trump’s previous visits have cost us millions in policing costs. They were the most expensive rounds of golf in history.
“The Scottish Government have refused to probe the finances involved in Donald Trump’s purchase of the Turnberry golf course.
“The new First Minister should consider whether to revisit that decision.”