How Scotland Got Trumped

Documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter spent two years following Donald Trump’s efforts to build a golf course on the fragile sand dunes of northeast Scotland.

How Scotland Got Trumped

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Earlier this week at the Republican debate in South Carolina, Jeb Bush accused Donald Trump of using eminent domain to try to seize an elderly woman’s home to “turn into a limousine parking lot for his casinos” in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The charge was especially relevant in South Carolina because some landowners there are concerned that eminent domain will be used by the state to clear the way to build a new pipeline through their property.

The exchange reminded us of an interview that Bill Moyers did with documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter in 2012 about his film, “You’ve Been Trumped.” Baxter spent two years following Donald Trump’s efforts to build a golf course on the fragile sand dunes of northeast Scotland. The local Aberdeenshire council first turned down Trump’s proposal to develop the protected dunes, but it was overruled. The Scottish national government, seduced by Trump’s promise to diversify the oil economy with tourism and jobs, believed the golf course was in the national interest. Here’s a clip from the interview.

Video: “We’re Trying to Build the Greatest Golf Course in the World”

Four years on, the “thousands of jobs” never materialized and just last month, Trump threatened to pull more than $1 billion worth of “planned investments into Scottish properties Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen and Trump Turnberrry in South Ayrshire if the British Parliament decides to ban him from entering the country in response to his controversial comments about Muslim immigrants.”

Donald Trump first fell out of the Scottish government’s good graces in 2013 when he sued to stop an offshore wind farm from being built within sight of his golf course. The billionaire who had dug up the protected dunes accused Scotland’s former first minister of being “hellbent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore Scotland itself.” Trump’s lawsuit was defeated several times before his appeal was rejected by Britain’s supreme court last December. After finishing “You’ve Been Trumped,” Anthony Baxter continued to investigate the golf courses in his next film “A Dangerous Game.”

Video: Trump Blasts a Wind Farm for Spoiling His View

Gail Ablow


Gail Ablow is a producer for Moyers & Company and a Carnegie Visiting Media Fellow, Democracy.