Trump Files: When Donald Ran Afoul of Ancient Scottish Heraldry Law

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on September 21, 2016.

When Donald Trump was trying to pitch the Scottish government on a new $1.2 billion golf course and coastal resort near Aberdeen in 2008, he gave away swag emblazoned with the official Trump family coat of arms—an ostentatious gold floral pattern surrounding a helmet atop a shield with three lions and two chevronels (the inverted V pattern that is a fixture on police and military uniforms).

But there was one problem: There was no official Trump family coat of arms. His mother is Scottish, but the Trump surname is German. And that meant Trump was in violation of an ancient Scottish heraldic law dating back to 1672, which prohibits unregistered coats of arms. According to the Telegraph, a shield costs £900 to register, and you pay an additional £1,300 for special features like a crest and a helmet, both of which graced Trump’s coat of arms.

Finally, four years after the initial brouhaha, Trump secured permission from the Scottish heraldic authorities for a new coat of arms. In an interview with the New York Post, Trump International–Scotland Vice President Sarah Malone explained the deep significance of the symbols:

“The Lion Rampant makes reference to Scotland and the stars to America,” Malone said, describing the insignia.

“Three chevronels are used to denote the sky, sand dunes and sea—the essential components of the [golf resort] site—and the double-sided eagle represents the dual nature and nationality of Trump’s heritage.”

She added, “The eagle clutches golf balls, making reference to the great game of golf, and the motto ‘Numquam Concedere’ is Latin for ‘Never Give Up’—Trump’s philosophy.”

Yup, that just about nails it.

 

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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