Having failed to arm-twist election officials to generate data that would place him ahead of his rival in the November 3 presidential poll, outgoing US President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to go into exile in Scotland to skip Joe Biden’s inauguration.
According to Scottish Sunday Post newspaper, “US President Donald Trump could be planning a trip to Scotland to avoid attending his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration (on January 20).”
Citing unnamed aviation sources, the Sunday Post reports, “Prestwick airport has been told to expect the arrival of a US military Boeing 757 aircraft that is occasionally used by Trump, on January 19 – the day before his Democratic rival takes charge at the White House.”
News of Trump planning to go into exile coincide with a Republican party loss in Georgia, where Democrat Raphael Warnock unseated Senator Kelly Loeffler in a runoff election. The second runoff between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff was billed as a final referendum on President Donald Trump as he begrudgingly heads out of office. Ossoff was well on course to victory in a tight race that cleared any doubts about Democratic party’s ouster of Trump from office, according to Politico newspaper.
The reports are corroborated by the authoritative Daily Beast, an American online publication, that reports that last week’s damning revelations of how Trump tried to arm-twist election officials to doctor presidential election results left him with an egg on the face.
Further, it says, the outgoing president standing was further dented by a flurry of petitions he filed to challenge the results. The president’s belligerence and stubborn refusal to accept defeat has alienated him from his Republican supporters who describe his conduct as a bad precedent.
Trump is yet to concede defeat to Biden.
Speculation surrounding Trump’s plans has been fuelled by the activity of US Army aircraft, which were based at Prestwick Airport for a week and said to be carrying out 3D reconnaissance of the president’s Turnberry resort.
“Sources at Prestwick said two US military surveillance aircraft were circling Turnberry in November, using the Ayrshire aviation hub as a base. US media has reported that Trump will break with tradition and snub the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, instead announcing a re-election bid on Air Force One,” reports the Sunday Post.
Aircraft used by the President, First Lady and Vice-President are given a US special call sign as opposed to a tail number to make it easier for air traffic controllers to give them special treatment.
Every plane Trump flies in has a special call sign, including his own personal Boeing 757, which has the call sign Tyson 1.
Air traffic controllers receive details of the arrival of a plane with a US special call sign week in advance but are not told exactly which plane when the booking is made.
The source at Prestwick airport, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “There is a booking for an American military version of the Boeing 757 on January 19, the day before the inauguration. That’s one that’s normally used by the Vice-President but often used by the First Lady. Presidential flights tend to get booked far in advance because of the work that has to be done around it.”
Airport sources told the Sunday Post that “surveillance planes appeared to lay the groundwork for Trump’s arrival in November. An MC-12W Liberty – a US Air Force version of the King Air 350ER, which is modified for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) role – landed at Prestwick on November 12. It made a number of flights over Trump Turnberry.”
Another US Army aircraft that visited the airport on November 12 also carried out surveillance flights over Trump Turnberry.
The paper further report, “The survey aircraft was based at Prestwick for about a week. It is usually a sign Trump is going to be somewhere for an extended period.”
Some media outlets in the US led by Daily Beast reported that Trump is considering to run for the seat he lost to Biden in the 2024 election. The announcement is expected to be made during a flight on one of the President’s official Air Force One planes on inauguration day.
Against this backdrop, NBC reporter Ken Dilanian tweeted: “Trump may announce for 2024 on inauguration day. Either way, he won’t attend the inauguration and does not plan to invite Biden to the White House or even call him.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump has not finalised his plans for inauguration day.
If Trump does fly to Scotland, he could be in breach of coronavirus restrictions. Trump Turnberry is effectively closed until February 5 due to Tier 4 rules, news outlets quoted the resort’s website.
The US Department of State declined to respond, referring inquiries to the White House to comment. As expected, the White House declined to respond.
In Scotland, the government said the UK’s Foreign Office is responsible for planning presidential visits. Prestwick airport and the Foreign Office did not comment.
– A Tell report