“We all wish that we had 20/20 hindsight”
President-elect Donald Trump has already been practicing his wall-building skills on his golf course in Scotland.
According to The New York Times, Trump built an earthen wall, raised fences, and put up trees to block the views of local residents who refused to sell their homes after he acquired the land to build the golf course just north of Aberdeen, Scotland. Trump even said that one resident, who he tried to have forced off his land, “lives like a pig.”
The incoming U.S. president, whose mother was Scottish, has infamously (or famously, depending upon your viewpoint) vowed to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and—even more implausibly—make Mexico pay for it. (Mexico has, of course, refused.) Now, in a fun twist, residents near the golf course in Scotland fly a Mexican flag in defiance of Trump each time he visits.
Trump’s experience in Scotland is telling. After promising locals in the northeastern Scottish town that he’d bring jobs and investment, very little seems to have materialized, according to The New York Times.
Indeed, even a decade before, many locals supported Trump’s plans for a golf course in their town, despite it being built on 4000-year-old, environmentally sensitive sand dunes.
Now they don’t seem so sure.
Trump promised an investment of over $1 billion for the project, hundreds of hotel rooms and holiday homes, and the accompanying jobs, which were supposedly to be in the thousands. None of this has materialized and, as the Guardian reported earlier this year, both his golf course in Balmedie and another in Turnberry, have been money-losing enterprises.
The national government, which helped push the project through the approval process, isn’t so thrilled about how it ended up.
Then-First Minister Alex Salmond, who helped get the project completed after it was rejected by locals, has his regrets, according to The Washington Post.
“There was nothing to suggest that there wasn’t serious intent behind it,” Salmond said. “We all wish that we had 20/20 hindsight, but I’m afraid that we are not given to having 20/20 hindsight.”
Trump has, of course, claimed that the course in Balmedie is a glowing success. Any troubles have been blamed on locals, regulations, and the prospect of wind farms off the coast. The latter has been particularly troublesome, given the real possibility of conflicts of interests that have already arisen.
If Trump’s grassy wall to block the neighbors, along with unfulfilled promises of jobs and investment is any indication, this could be a rocky four years.