Former US president Donald Trump has attended a ceremony to break ground for a second course at one of his Scottish golf resorts and named it after his mother.
Earlier, he told reporters it’s “great to be home” as he arrived at Aberdeen Airport on his private jet.
He headed to his Trump International Scotland Course at the Menie Estate near Aberdeen and cut a red ribbon to mark breaking ground on the new MacLeod course – dedicated to his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod.
She was born on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles before emigrating to the US.
He said: “We are going to build a great golf course that aims to replicate the outstanding championship links we already have here and many believe to be the greatest golf course in the world.
“We will build a course that will be fit to host many great championships in the future along with our championship links.
“We’ve had a lot of pleasure in working on this land and there is no other land like it. We have incredible views by the sea and there are no other dunes like these in the world. It will be a great success.
“This project is very close to my heart and I am delighted to say that this is our first day of work on the new course.
“It will be dedicated to my late mother and that is a source of great pride to me and my family. My mother was an incredible woman who loved Scotland.
“She returned here every year and she loved The Queen. I got to know The Queen too during my visits here I love Scotland just as much.”
He was accompanied by his son Eric who oversees the management and operations of the Trump Organisation’s global portfolio, including the golf courses.
Dr Martin Hawtree, who designed the initial championship links at the Menie Estate, was commissioned to design the MacLeod course – which will be built to the south and west of the existing championship course.
Mr Trump and his son arrived at Aberdeen Airport at about 11.30am and walked down a red carpet to the sound of two pipers to a 10-vehicle motorcade.
Before getting into one of the cars, Mr Trump said: “It’s great to be home, this was the home of my mother.”
Following his time in Scotland, he will head to his golf course in Doonbeg on Ireland’s west coast.
Despite the visit, Mr Trump, who is running for the White House again in 2024 and is seen by many as the presumptive Republican nominee, said his campaign is “on my mind”, stressing that a victory for him would make America “greater than ever before”.
“Will be leaving for Scotland & Ireland soon in order to see and inspect my great properties there,” he wrote on Truth Social – the social media platform he owns.
“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.”
The tycoon’s trip to Scotland comes as he faces legal trouble in his native New York over his business practices.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records to hide damaging information ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Trump had previously spent two days at his Turnberry course in South Ayrshire while in office in 2018, meeting Theresa May and the Queen during the visit.
Asked last week if he will meet Mr 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.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur 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.”
When he was justice secretary in 2021 Mr Yousaf rejected Scottish Green Party calls for ministers to push for the Trump Organisation’s golf courses in Scotland to be investigated via an unexplained wealth order (UWO), telling MSPs in a statement at Holyrood it would not be “right or proper”.
Mr Trump’s son Eric criticised Green co-leader Patrick Harvie for bringing the issue of a so-called McMafia order to debate at the Scottish Parliament, saying at the time Mr Harvie was a “national embarrassment”.
Mr Harvie told Holyrood there were “longstanding” reasons for concerns over Mr Trump’s financial conduct.