Speculation grows that Donald Trump may fly to Scotland on eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration
Nicola Sturgeon yesterday warned Donald Trump that any visit to Scotland would violate coronavirus rules, after it was reported the president may be planning to flee the US ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The First Minister of Scotland said although she hoped and expected “that the immediate travel plan he has is to exit the White House,” but that “coming to play golf is not what I would consider an essential purpose (for travel).” Prestwick Airport, near the president’s Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire, is said to have been told to expect the arrival of a US military Boeing 757 aircraft, the carrier which has been used by Mr Trump, on January 19 – the day before Mr Biden takes over. The president-elect is set to be sworn into office in a ceremony at the White House on January 20. While it is customary for the outgoing president to attend, reports suggest Mr Trump will snub the event. Mr Trump has refused to concede defeat in the November 3 election to Mr Biden, claiming without evidence that there was widespread fraud. A source at Prestwick airport, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Scottish Sunday Post: “There is a booking for an American military version of the Boeing 757 on January 19, the day before the inauguration. “That’s one that’s normally used by the Vice-President but often used by the First Lady. Presidential flights tend to get booked far in advance, because of the work that has to be done around it.” Air traffic controllers receive details of the arrival of a plane with a US special call sign weeks in advance but are not told exactly which plane when the booking is made, the paper writes. The president has strong ties to Scotland, owning the Turnberry golf resort, as well as a course in Aberdeenshire. His mother, Mary, hails from the island of Lewis. If Mr Trump does fly to Scotland later this month he could be in breach of coronavirus restrictions. Trump Turnberry is effectively closed until February 5 due to new lockdown rules, according to the resort’s website. It is also not immediately clear how, as a private citizen, Mr Trump would fly back to the US after January 20. It was reported last month that Mr Trump is discussing the possibility of announcing a campaign to retake the White House in 2024 on Inauguration Day, skipping the swearing-in of his successor. Biden transition officials said his attendance at the inauguration, or lack thereof, would not affect their plans, which will be scaled back due to coronavirus concerns. Mr Trump is said to be concerned about criminal investigations he might face after leaving the White House, as well as questions about his taxes. It is Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. The most developed case might be out of the Southern District of New York, which prosecuted Michael Cohen, his one-time personal attorney and fixer, over hush money paid to a prostitute allegedly hired by Mr Trump. He also faces two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. The US Department of State said it was for the White House to comment. The White House did not respond to The Sunday Post. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not comment.