Scotland politics

Donald Trump letters to Alex Salmond published

Donald Trump at Menie Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Trump waged a bitter campaign against plans to build an offshore windfarm near his golf course at Menie in Aberdeenshire

A series of colourfully-written letters sent by Donald Trump to then-Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has been published in full for the first time.

The letters formed part of an intense lobbying campaign against plans for an offshore wind project near Mr Trump's Aberdeenshire golf resort.

In one, Mr Trump said he was attempting to "save Scotland".

In another, he claimed Mr Salmond would be known as "Mad Alex" if the plan went ahead.

And the US president elect predicted the "insanity" of the project would bankrupt Scotland, and destroy Mr Salmond's hopes for Scottish independence.

Details of some of the correspondence has been made public before.

But the Huffington Post obtained full copies of all of the documents after submitting a freedom of information request.

They included a letter sent on 14 September 2011, in which Mr Trump told Mr Salmond: "Its adverse visual impact on my development and the beautiful Aberdeen coastline will be disastrous and environmentally irresponsible."

Less than a fortnight later he sent a one-sentence missive to the then first minister asking why Swedish energy firm Vattenfall was being allowed to "ruin" the Scottish coastline, adding: "Let them ruin the coastline of Sweden first."

On 9 February 2012, Mr Trump told Mr Salmond: "With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history."

Image caption Copies of the letters were obtained by the Huffington Post

He added that he would never support "this insanity" and said he was motivated by his family ties to Scotland.

Mr Trump wrote: "Please understand that I am doing this to save Scotland and honour my mother, Mary MacLeod who, as you know, was born and raised in Stornoway.

"She would not believe what you are doing to her beloved Scotland!"

'Pursue this craziness'

The correspondence showed Mr Trump becoming increasingly frustrated by the turbine plan.

On 12 March 2012 he asked Mr Salmond: "Do you want to be known for centuries to come as 'Mad Alex - the man who destroyed Scotland'?"

He added: "If you pursue this craziness Scotland will go broke and forever lose whatever chance you currently have of making Scotland independent."

The following month he warned about the economic damage that reliance on wind power would do.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Alex Salmond called for Mr Trump to be banned from the UK ahead of his victory in the US presidential election

Writing on 19 April 2012 he said: "Your economy will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid."

In two separate messages on 2 May of the same year, Mr Trump gave an insight into what he believes makes a great leader - and said the wind turbine plans were a "mad march into oblivion".

In one letter Mr Trump said: "History has proven conclusively that the world's greatest leaders have always been those who have been able to change their minds for the good."

He also said he would be "your greatest cheerleader if you can change or modify your stance on at least the inappropriately placed turbines."

In the other letter he told Mr Salmond: "Your idea of independence is 'Gone With the Wind'."

The correspondence reveals that Mr Trump also lobbied UK ministers, with one letter to then defence secretary Philip Hammond praising the Ministry of Defence's concerns about the project.

'Bloated ego'

In the 16 August 2012 letter he told the cabinet minister: "The defence of the UK is far too important to tinker with just to satisfy Alex Salmond's bloated ego."

The released papers include one reply from Mr Salmond to Mr Trump, in which he told the tycoon that the renewable energy industry would help create job opportunities in Scotland.

In the 12 April 2012 response, Mr Salmond said: "We are determined to be on the right side of this debate, to deliver a future for the next generation, and a prosperous one at that."

Mr Salmond was an outspoken critic of Mr Trump ahead of the US presidential election, calling for him to be banned from the UK after Mr Trump said he wanted to deny Muslims entry to the US.

He reflected on his dealings with Mr Trump in July of this year, when he said: "Most American presidents don't send you 'green ink' letters, often capital letters. Usually couriered overnight with press articles attached to them, 'READ THIS!' Underlined, three times."

Vattenfall is now going ahead with the £300m construction of Scotland's largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility after Mr Trump's efforts - including a Supreme Court challenge - failed.