US President Donald Trump has suggested that Scottish independence would be “terrible”, voicing fears about the future of the Open golf championship.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Trump pondered whether Scotland would “go for the vote”.
He said that this “would be terrible”, adding: “They just went through hell.”
The president then noted that “they’d no longer have the British Open” golf championship, saying: “Scotland. Keep it in Scotland.”
SNP MP Angus MacNeil suggested that Mr Trump’s comments would actually be a boost for the cause, writing on Twitter: “Goodness, Scottish independence must have a whole raft of new global supporters as Donald Trump says ‘bad’.”
Mr Trump’s interview with the Wall Street Journal, a transcript of which was released by Politico, also discussed the UK’s prospects of securing a trade deal with the US after Brexit.
Having been asked about “trade talks with Britain”, the president is noted as saying: “We’re going to be very involved with the UK. I mean, you don’t hear the word Britain any more. It’s very interesting. It’s like, nope.”
He then changed tack to ask: “Is Scotland going to go for the vote, by the way? You don’t see it. It would be terrible. They just went through hell.”
The newspaper’s editor in chief Gerard Baker interjected that “the first minister’s already made it clear she…” before Mr Trump interrupted.
The president then added: “One little thing, what would they do with the British Open if they ever got out? They’d no longer have the British Open.
“Scotland. Keep it in Scotland.”
Mr Trump then asked Mr Baker if he was “a member there”, before embarking on a discussion of golf, including the prospects of 2017 Open champion Jordan Spieth.
The tournament is scheduled to be held in Carnoustie in Angus in 2018. Other active venues in Scotland include the Old Course at St Andrews, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Turnberry, the latter course having been bought by Mr Trump in 2014. He visited the course during his presidential campaign.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has put plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence on hold after announcing a “reset” of her proposed timetable.
However, she has said it remains “likely” that a vote will be held by 2021, stressing that she is “strongly committed” to Scots having a choice on their future at the end of the Brexit process.
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