One of the funniest moments of the 2016 campaign came when Donald Trump flew to Scotland to celebrate the grand re-opening of the historic Turnberry golf resort, which he’d bought three years earlier.
The ceremony took place shortly after the UK voting to leave the European Union, and Trump used the occasion to take a victory lap.
Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016
That didn’t sit well with Scottish Twitter, who viciously trolled him into submission. After all, Scotland voted in a landslide–62 percent–to remain in the EU.
Well, Scotland just humiliated Trump again. Two days before Christmas, the Scottish government announced that Trump Turnberry would no longer be eligible for a massive tax break it received earlier in the year.
Back in February, Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay introduced measures to limit tax increases in the hospitality sector. It was intended to help struggling restaurants, hotels, and pubs deal with the first major revaluation of the taxable rate–or “rateable rate,” as it’s called in the UK–in seven years.
But earlier this year, Scots were up in arms when it was discovered that Trump Turnberry qualified for £109,530 in tax relief–equivalent to $147,000. This was because the tax relief scheme was based on whether the property met the definition of a hospitality property, not on how much it earned.
That didn’t sit well with Patrick Harvie, a Green member of the Scottish Parliament, who called it “galling” that Scottish taxpayers were giving Trump “a helping hand.” Martin Ford, a councillor in Aberdeenshire and longtime Trump foe, was equally disgusted that the Scottish taxpayer was effectively being asked to “enhance Mr. Trump’s bank balance.”
Mackay got the message loud and clear. His draft budget requires properties to have a taxable value of £1.5 million–a little over $2 million. Trump Turnberry has a taxable value of £1.6 million, or $2.1 million–just a few hundred thousand dollars over the cutoff.
The change was a veiled swipe at Trump, who is manifestly unpopular in Scotland. The government believes that Trump is “well able to manage” under the circumstances, and made clear that the tax relief was intended for “smaller firms who most need help in tough economic circumstances.”
It’s not the first time Trump has gotten into a brouhaha with the Scottish government. Earlier, he loudly opposed then-First Minister Alex Salmond’s plan for a wind farm near his golf course in Aberdeenshire. In response, Salmond drew the same conclusion as a lot of us here in the States–that Trump is “a Peter Pan.”
Fittingly, this move took place just hours after Trump signed the tax reform bill into law. So not long after Trump gave a huge gift to his fellow one-percenters, Scotland clawed back a major giveaway he’d received earlier in the year.
At least someone was willing to put Trump in his place this year. Well played, Scotland. Very well played.
(featured image: screenshot courtesy NBC News)