FM softens position on new president

Sturgeon prepared to meet ‘abhorrent’ Trump

Nicola Sturgeon ButeNicola Sturgeon has said she would meet US president-elect Donald Trump despite her earlier revulsion over statements he made on muslims and women during the campaign.

The First Minister has indicated that she will not reject any future engagement with the US government and would not object to him visiting Scotland.

Her comments, via her official spokesman, follow her reaction last December to his promise to ban muslims.

Mr Trump took an aggressive tone towards muslims entering the US following the fatal shootings in California that month.

Worldwide objection followed his comments. Robert Gordon University stripped Mr Trump of his honorary doctorate, while Ms Sturgeon removed his status as a GlobalScot, a representative of Scotland overseas.

She said at the time: “His comments in the last few days have been repugnant and reprehensible.

“Being a GlobalScot is a very privileged position. You effectively are a business ambassador for the country and the job is to promote the reputation of Scotland overseas. I have made the simple judgement that someone who expresses the views that Donald Trump has is not suitable to be promoting Scotland abroad.”

During First Minister’s questions yesterday Ms Sturgeon repeated her reservations over the billionaire businessman’s success in the American election.

She added that she would always speak out against views that she found repugnant. She said: “During the campaign, I found so many of president-elect Trump’s comments to be deeply abhorrent and I never want to be – I am not ever prepared to be – a politician who maintains a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind.

“We hope that president-elect Trump turns out to be a president who is very different from the kind of candidate that he was and that he reaches out to those who felt vilified by his campaign.

“People of progressive opinion the world over have to stand up for those values of tolerance and respect for diversity and difference.”

Asked afterwards if Ms Sturgeon would meet Mr Trump, her spokesman said: “The First Minister made it clear…that she’s not going to turn her back on engagement with the US government. Of course she’s not.

“But in terms of president-elect Trump, she hopes that as president Trump he will be different to candidate Trump in terms of some of the views he espouses.”

Donald Trump freeAsked whether Mr Trump, who owns two golf courses in Scotland (pictured right at Turnberry), would be welcome in the country, the spokesman replied: |He’s perfectly free to come here, as he has on many occasions.

“Whether he comes here as president or not remains to be seen, but he obviously has close links to this country.”

Ms Sturgeon told parliament that she was “struck by comments made by the German chancellor Angela Merkel when she said she wanted to have a constructive engagement with the new president, but wanted that to be engagement based on values of respect for all, of tolerance and of diversity’

“I echo that sentiment. The relationship between Scotland and the United States of America is a strong one, it is one that I believe will endure, so, as the elected First Minister of Scotland, I want to engage positively and constructively with the American administration, but I will never, ever shy away from standing up for these important principles.”

> Mr Trump spoke to Prime Minister Theresa May in a telephone call and invited her to the US in the new year.

Her spokesman said they agreed that the US-British relationship was “very important and very special, and that building on this would be a priority for them both.

“President-elect Trump set out his close and personal connections with, and warmth for, the UK. He said he was confident that the special relationship would go from strength to strength,” it added.

> The Dow Jones index closed at a record high last night, rising by 1.2%, as investors continued to bet on Mr Trump expanding the economy.

However, the technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.8% on concerns that Mr Trump’s immigration policies will prevent firms importing talent from overseas.

The FTSE 100 closed 84 points lower at 6,828 and Asian shares slipped back on concerns that interest rates will rise causing capital to flow out of the region.


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