Turn on a TV, switch on the radio or pick up a daily paper and you will catch the latest edition of the Donald Trump show. But what started as a mildly amusing ‘what’s he going to say next?’ question has now turned into something more sinister.
Muhammad Ali and David Cameron were among those who criticised Trump’s comments about banning Muslims from entering the United States – but what the world has witnessed as Trump steps up his campaign for the White House is merely an intensification of what I experienced while making the films You’ve Been TrumpedandA Dangerous Game. Then I saw at first-hand how Trump preys on fears while saying one thing and doing another. And now he is using the same tactic on a global scale. Proof that a leopard doesn’t change its spots.
In 2010 Trump promised the people of Scotland he would build “the greatest golf course in the world”. Six thousand jobs was the pledge. A $1.5bn investment, a luxury hotel, 1,500 houses and two championship golf courses – all to be built on one of Britain’s last remaining wilderness areas. Trump preyed on the economic fears of short-sighted Scottish politicians, saying his golf course would save the local economy.
Eager to please their new billionaire friend, Scotland’s then first minister Alex Salmond and his chums gave Trump the go-ahead to build his golf course development – and with it overturned strict environmental laws designed to protect unique habitats, all because of the flimsiest of economic pledges.
Trump preyed on the economic fears of short-sighted Scottish politicians, saying his golf course would save the local economy
I live in Montrose, about 50 miles south of Trump’s development. I was struck by the fact the local press failed to question the environmental impact of Trump’s plans and were constantly glowing in their coverage of the golf resort he wanted to build. The residents who were threatened with eviction from their homes after refusing to sell to Trump were portrayed as “standing in the way of progress”. As a journalist and film-maker, I just wanted to document what was going on, get to the truth and enable the voices of residents to be heard.
Trump and The Trump Organization refused all approaches to respond to our questions. When You’ve Been Trumped was released, he took to Twitter to blast me as “a stupid fool”, a “loser” and a “moron”. He branded it “a failed documentary”. However, the film won 12 awards on the festival circuit and was named Best Documentary by Mark Kermode in his alternative Oscars.