by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Donald Trump is not content to bully the residents of just one continent, it seems.
In the mid 1990s, there was Vera Coking, the septuagenarian widow whom Donald Trump tried to squeeze out of her Atlantic City apartment to make room for a limousine parking lot for his nearby casino. Ten years later, in Scotland, trying to foist a golf course and resort onto a stretch of Scottish coastline, Trump encountered a set of equally incorrigible homeowners — and did his best to run them out of their homes, too.
In March 2006, Trump visited Scotland and proposed to build a 36-hole golf course — “the greatest golf course anywhere in the world,” as he would reiterate time and again — along with a 450-room hotel with a conference center and spa, 950 time-share apartments, 36 golf villas, and 500 for-sale houses, and accommodations for hundreds of full-time employees, in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire. He billed it as an economic boon to the country and, in his usual theatrical fashion, as a “homecoming,” waxing poetic about his immigrant mother, who departed Scotland’s Western Isles for the U.S. as a young woman. In reality, it was a vanity project. …
… Abutting the land Trump hoped to develop were four residences owned and occupied by locals not inclined to move: David Milne, Susan Munro, Michael Forbes, and then-octogenarian Molly Forbes (whose home was on Michael’s land). Trump wanted them out. The tactics he employed toward that end mirrored Vera Coking’s case almost exactly.
Two properties provoked Trump’s particular ire. David Milne’s home, in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, was built in 1954. It was then a Coast Guard station, occupying the same spot on which another Coast Guard station had stood, going back to the 1860s. Trump thought it was an eyesore. Likewise a house and several outbuildings owned by Michael Forbes, a salmon fisherman who had left school at 14 to learn his trade, and whose family had lived in the area for several generations. “His property is terribly maintained,” Trump told reporters. “It’s slum-like, it’s disgusting. He’s got stuff thrown all over the place. He lives like a pig.”