Gaffe Track: Trump's Wee Scottish Blunder

Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Donald J. Trump

The gaffe: Trump arrived in Scotland hot on the heels of the Brexit vote last week, ready to promote his Turnberry golf resort. He cheerily reported:

Och, ye daft minger. As my colleague James Fallows wrote, although the “Leave” side won, the Scots voted heavily for “Remain.”

The defense: How should Trump tell the difference between Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole? It’s not as if Trump has claimed a special affinity for Caledonia, his mother’s native land.

Why it matters (or doesn’t): The comment—along with Trump’s admission that he hadn’t spoken with foreign policy advisers about the Brexit vote—simply reinforces the idea that Trump knows nothing about, and moreover has no interest in learning about, policy issues. It shouldn’t hurt his standing with the Scots, though: They already despise him.

The lesson: When ye dinnae ken whit yer talkin aboot, haud yer wheesht.