Donald Trump warned that Scotland’s economy would become a “third world wasteland” as a result of its commitment to renewable wind power, only to vow weeks later to act as the Scottish Government’s “greatest cheerleader” if it performed a U-turn over offshore wind power, newly released correspondence shows.
In a series of letters between the president-elect of the US and former first minister Alex Salmond, Mr Trump urged the Scottish Government to change its mind on approving “disastrous” wind turbine developments.
The tranche of correspondence, newly released under Freedom of Information legislation, provides further proof of the wholesale breakdown in relations between the two men.
From promises and praise to threats and personal insults, Mr Trump’s letters – sent while Mr Salmond was in Bute House – reveal his anger at the Government’s backing for offshore wind power schemes.
While previous letters between the two men have been released in recent years, the new batch shows Mr Trump’s passive aggressive nature in detail.
In April 2012, he wrote to Mr Salmond stressing that were Scotland to press ahead with offshore schemes, the “monstrous” turbines would “destroy your coastlines and your countryside,” adding: “Your economy will become a third world wasteland that investors will avoid.”
The following month, however, he adopted a more conciliatory tone in a letter to St Andrew’s House, appealing to Mr Salmond’s place in the history books.
“History has proven conclusively that the world’s greatest leaders have always been those who have been able to change their minds for the good,” he wrote.
“Wind turbines in inappropriate locations are a disastrous mistake for Scotland. They will certainly be very destructive to major golf resorts (such as mine) and tourism will suffer greatly.”
He signed off: “I will be your greatest cheerleader if you can change or modify your stance on at least the inappropriately placed turbines.”
The letters, obtained by The Huffington Post, show Mr Salmond replied to Mr Trump in April 2012, defending Scotland’s support for the renewable energy sector and emphasising it was up to local authorities to decide whether developments were approved.
He wrote: “I don’t expect you to support the development of offshore wind in Scotland. But I hope this letter will help you to understand the position of the Scottish government in terms of the importance we place on this industry’s great potential.”
It emerged last month that Mr Trump, a longstanding opponent of an offshore development near his Trump International Golf Links, urged Nigel Farage to campaign against wind farms in Scotland.
Andy Wigmore, a Leave EU campaigner who attended a meeting between the two men, said the billionaire had urged him and Mr Farage to “campaign against getting rid of wind farms”.