EDINBURGH, Scotland—Donald Trump might well be making diplomatic strides in North Korea, but he’s risked destroying relations with Scotland ahead of his expected visit to the country by banning its iconic soft drink, Irn-Bru.
The luminous drink—famously more popular in Scotland than Coca-Cola—has been banned from Trump’s luxury golf course over fears that its almost radioactively orange color could ruin the fancy carpets.
“We can’t have it staining when to replace the ballroom carpet would be 500,000 pounds ($678,800) alone,” said Trump Turnberry General Manager Ralph Porciani, according to a local newspaper. “We have villas here with Irn-Bru stains in the carpets, which I can’t let.”
Irn-Bru is an intensely sweet soft drink with a flavor that’s almost impossible to describe. It’s as much a national icon as whisky or haggis, and Trump’s ban on it is being treated as an attack on the very essence of being Scottish, say a number of furious Scots.
One of the country’s leading newspapers, The Scotsman, described the decision as a “an unfortunate stain on Trump’s reputation” and in a justifiably angry editorial wrote, “The resort may have ballroom carpets to protect but surely the stain on Trump’s reputation from this ill-considered decision is much, much worse.”
Tim O’Connor wrote on Twitter that the decision was “effectively a declaration of war on Scotland,” while another Twitter user wrote that “only one luminous orange object is allowed at Turnberry,” above a picture of Trump speaking at the resort during the presidential campaign.
Scottish journalist Liam Kirkcaldy wrote: “Donald Trump has banned Irn-Bru from his Scottish hotel, despite the fact that it’s one of the few drinks which could survive a nuclear war without being affected. You’d think that would appeal to the man.”
Despite Trump’s mother hailing from Scotland, he was widely unpopular in the country even before he became president. He has two golf courses here and was strongly criticized for the way he treated local residents while building his first, near Aberdeen in the north of the country.
In an eerie precursor of his later policies, he built a wall around a local resident’s house to block it from view and sent the resident a bill, then cut off water from the 92-year-old resident’s home, and has delivered only a fraction of the $1 billion investment and 6,000 jobs he promised to the area.
Scots have already proved inventive in protesting Trump, with previous protests including hoisting a Mexican flag on his golf course, urinating on his golf course’s sign, rubbing a big balloon on Trump’s head, and making all kinds of colorfully worded anti-Trump placards including: “Yer maw was an immigrant you absolute roaster.”
Trump is expected to visit Scotland during his trip to the U.K. this summer. It was confirmed last month that Trump will visit on July 13, with the trip expected to include a meeting with the queen.
Mass protests are already being organized for the visit. More than 100,000 people have registered their interest on Facebook on a protest against Trump at Downing Street in London on the day of the visit.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has previously been the target of Trump’s anger on Twitter, warned the president: “If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.”