So, how's Donald Trump's Scotland visit going? Not bad, if you don't mind a little Nazi imagery.
Probably the most fun moment of the trip so far was a disruption by comedian Simon Brodkin during a Trump speech. Normally, "pranks" are just the worst thing ever, but it's such a pleasure to see Trump mocked that I don't hate this one. During Trump's speech, Brodkin, posing as a golf club employee, spilled a bunch of red swastika-adorned golf balls on the ground and told everyone they were part of Trump's new line.
Ha. Not the cleverest prank, and not the particularly novel. Brodkin's best work remains the time he posed as a mechanic to to get onstage at a VW event, claiming that he needed to inspect a secret emissions-cheating device on a display car. Still, given that the usual Trump disruptions involve physical violence and racism, a little Nazi joke at least lightened the mood.
What even is Trump doing in Scotland? Apparently there was a ribbon that needed cutting at a new golf course, and I guess he's the only one with novelty oversized scissors big enough to cut it. That's it — no meetings with heads of state, no foreign policy discussions, no kissing babies or campaigning.
Reporters were allowed to join him on the trip for the reasonable price of $10,000. This isn't completely unusual — traditionally, media outlets pay for candidates' travel so that reporters can have access to them while traveling. But that's an awfully steep price for a single trip to a golf course that isn't even part of his campaign.
Or wait — IS it part of his campaign? The itinerary for the event says “Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.” How does opening a golf course in another country connect to his political ambitions?
Well, for what it's worth, Trump's capitalized on the recent Brexit vote by comparing it favorably to his supporters' isolationist impulses. He got some of the details wrong, but that doesn't matter for his purposes. "They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy," he said, and went on to describe how happy the people of Scotland were with the outcome of the vote. "They voted to take their country back," he said on Twitter.
Actually, Scotland voted to remain. But who cares about facts? Not Trump's army of fans, who just want to hear that xenophobia won in the UK, and so they should never give up on their nationalist dreams.
A few weeks ago, when asked about the vote, Trump's only statements were "huh?" and "hmm," and that he didn't know that much about it. I don't believe that for a moment — the vote has had a profound financial impact already, and I can't believe Donald wouldn't be informed about a vote that affects his favorite thing, money.
At any rate, Trump's certainly feeling more enthusiastic about the vote, now that it aligns with his own talking points about taking back one's country from the outsiders. "I have lots of friends in Germany," he said at one point, "who have always been really proud Germans to a level you wouldn't believe."
Maybe don't phrase it quite like that when you're surrounded by a bunch of swastikas.