Positively shocking: Trump's boasts of help from Sean Connery fall apart

President claimed Bond actor helped him get planning permission for Scottish resort

It was less licence to kill and more dramatic licence. Donald Trump’s claim that the late Sean Connery assisted him in getting planning applications passed in Scotland fell apart quickly on Sunday when the chair of the planning committee said the James Bond star was not involved.

In a series of tweets, two days prior to the US election, Trump paid tribute to Connery, saying he was “highly regarded and respected in Scotland and beyond”. It was announced on Saturday the James Bond actor had died aged 90.

But his claim that Connery stepped in and shouted “let him build the damn thing” in connection with a big development raised eyebrows in Scotland.

....all I needed, everything went swimmingly from there. He was so highly regarded & respected in Scotland and beyond that years of future turmoil was avoided. Sean was a great actor and an even greater man. Sincere condolences to his family!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2020

He tweeted that “everything went swimmingly” with his development plans after initially “having a very hard time getting approvals”.

In 2008 Connery is reported as saying of the project: “During tough economic times, this is a major vote of confidence in Scotland’s tourist industry and our ability to rise to the challenge. I look forward to seeing a new gem in the north-east that is good for Aberdeenshire and good for Scotland.”

But Martin Ford, the Aberdeenshire councillor who was chair of the planning committee that initially refused Trump’s application to build the resort, told the Guardian: “Mr Connery was not involved in the due process that led to the granting of planning permission for a golf resort at Menie. He did not submit a letter of representation to the council, appear at the planning hearing, or at the public local inquiry.”

Ford added: “Opinions offered in press articles are not material considerations in decisions on planning applications.”

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland and much of the world is mourning the loss of a great spirit. Sean Connery’s contribution and life’s work was immense, real and lasting and everyone with an ounce of class is reflecting upon just that today. Tributes are great from all sources but this is not a time for tweeting silly claims or indeed responding to them.”

David Milne, a near neighbour of the Trump golf course in Scotland, and the US president’s most vocal local critic, said the claim that Connery helped him land planning permission for his golf resort was “utter bollocks”.

Milne said Connery had never played the course, despite Trump’s invites.

The actor was offered the honour of becoming the first member of Trump’s golf resort at Menie, north of Aberdeen, with membership number 007, which the property mogul built after bulldozing a very rare dune habitat as well as overriding local planning rules.

Trump had said that he wanted the star to play the first shot on the course. But when the resort was opened two years later, Trump played first balls with former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie instead.

The pair did know each other, however. Connery and Trump were photographed together at several events in New York, including the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt fashion show in the early 2000s.

Contributors

Martin Belam and Libby Brooks

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Trump's vote fraud claims go viral on social media despite curbs
President’s posts are top on Facebook as efforts to stop misinformation about election prove ineffective

Alex Hern Technology editor

10, Nov, 2020 @6:43 PM

Article image
The vanishing 'red mirage': how Trump's election week soured
As he took early wins in key states, it seemed the president had defied his critics again. But it wasn’t to last

Luke Harding

07, Nov, 2020 @8:46 AM

Article image
Johnson urged to denounce Trump's claims of US election fraud
UK prime minister stands in contrast to stance from German politicians who call unsubstantiated statements anti-democratic

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

05, Nov, 2020 @3:27 PM

Article image
Sean Connery had dementia, his wife reveals
Micheline Roquebrune says the late James Bond actor’s dementia ‘took its toll on him’

Andrew Pulver

02, Nov, 2020 @12:10 PM

Article image
Donald Trump's private visit cost Police Scotland £3.2m
Exclusive: force spent millions covering Trump’s two-day visit to his own golf resort last year

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

27, Jan, 2019 @2:23 PM

Article image
Official plane used by Trump will fly to Scotland just before Biden inauguration – report
Arrival of military plane president has occasionally used fuels questions over Trump’s plans for 20 January

Julian Borger in Washington

04, Jan, 2021 @11:05 PM

Article image
Sean Connery, James Bond actor, dies aged 90
Multiple award-winning Scottish actor best known for 007 role in seven spy films

Andrew Pulver and Mattha Busby

31, Oct, 2020 @2:02 PM

Article image
Sean Connery told he may have been phone-hacking victim
Police tell actor they believe his phone was hacked about 10 times

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent

30, May, 2012 @11:03 AM

Sean Connery has kidney tumour removed
Veteran actor Sir Sean Connery has undergone an operation to remove a tumour from his kidney, it emerged yesterday.

Press Association

13, Mar, 2006 @12:46 AM

Article image
Democratic leaders call for Trump's removal from office
Pelosi and Schumer say if president isn’t removed via 25th amendment he should be impeached for a second time

Julian Borger in Washington

08, Jan, 2021 @3:34 AM