Trump on Scottish golf course as he tees up Putin talks




  • In World
  • 2018-07-14 23:55:16Z
  • By AFP

Turnberry (United Kingdom) (AFP) - US President Donald Trump took to the golf course on Saturday, waving at protesters as he prepared for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump, on the third day of his four-day trip to Britain, was on a private visit to his Turnberry luxury golf resort in southwest Scotland ahead of Monday's summit in Helsinki.

Wearing a white baseball cap reading "USA", he appeared to wave towards protesters chanting "No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA," referring to the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group.

The demonstrators, who had gathered on the nearby beach, climbed a hill to ensure the president could see them when he took to the golf course.

Trump earlier tweeted: "I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf -- my primary form of exercise! The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!

"The stock market hit 25,000," he added, claiming credit for the latest bull run on Wall Street.

"Jobs are at an all time record -- and that is before we fix some of the worst trade deals and conditions ever seen by any government. It is all happening!"

Besides the demonstrators at Turnberry, around 9,000 protesters gathered in Edinburgh, police said, adding that no arrests were made.

Giant balloons depicting Trump as an orange baby were flown at the demonstration.

"This is our six metre (19-foot) high inflatable of the president of United States as an orange skinned, angry baby with tiny, tiny hands and a constipated, malevolent expression on his face," said "Trump babysitter" Leo Murray.

People held placards reading "Ex-pat for a reason", "No place for Trump's hate", "Trump, racist warmonger, out!", "Dump Trump", "No trade with Trump" and "Trump kidnaps kids".

A mass protest in London on Friday drew more than 250,000 people, organisers said.

- 'We love you Donald' -

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the protesters were "an embarrassment to themselves".

Of their hostility, he told BBC television: "I don't think that reflects the genuine good manners and hospitality of the British people."

A demonstration in London on Saturday organised by British alt-right and pro-Trump campaigners led to 12 arrests for violence and public order offences, police said.

Scuffles broke out at one point as attendees -- who chanted slogans including "We love you Donald" -- passed a nearby anti-fascism protest.

In an outspoken interview with Friday's edition of The Sun, Britain's most widely-read newspaper, Trump said British Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for post-Brexit ties with the EU would "probably kill" prospects for a UK-US trade deal.

Trump said he had advised May to take a different strategy on Brexit, telling the tabloid: "I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn't agree, she didn't listen to me."

The unprecedented criticism came at a particularly sensitive time for May, who is facing a rebellion by Brexit hardliners against her proposals to retain strong trading ties with the EU even after Britain leaves the bloc.

After meeting May at the prime minister's Chequers country retreat outside London on Friday, Trump sounded more conciliatory, saying that bilateral relations "have never been stronger".

- 'Terrific woman' -

"Whatever you do is okay with us, just make sure we can trade together, that's all that matters," he told May.

"The United States looks forward to finalising a great bilateral trade deal," he said, and repeatedly praised May's leadership, saying she was a "terrific woman".

He then met Queen Elizabeth II for tea at Windsor Castle.

Trump inaugurated Turnberry on June 24, 2016 -- the day after the referendum in which Britain voted to leave the EU.

Dozens of police officers were seen standing guard Saturday outside the luxury estate in southwest Scotland.

Discord over his other golf course on the Scottish east coast dating back over a decade means there is little love lost between Trump and the pro-independence Scottish government.

A handful of protesters stood outside the entrance to the Trump International Golf Links on Saturday. One woman in a trade union bib held a placard reading: "Mr Trump, you are not welcome."

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