Donald Trump has claimed the late James Bond star Sir Sean Connery “stepped in” to help him get planning permission in order build a golf course in Scotland.
In tweets posted on Sunday, the US president paid tribute to the “legendary actor”, a keen golfer who died on Saturday aged 90, adding that he had “past (sic) on to even greener fairways”.
Calling the original 007 “quite a guy, and a tough character”, Mr Trump said Sir Sean “stepped in and shouted, ‘Let him build the damn thing'” when he was struggling to get planning permission for a controversial golf course at Turnberry.
….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
Everything “went swimmingly from there”, Mr Trump added, before wishing “sincere condolences” to Connery’s family following the death of the “great actor”.
Connery had not publicly confirmed the claim previously, but it is not the first time Mr Trump has said the screen legend helped him win approval for the development.
The pair did know each other and were photographed together at several events in New York in the early 2000s.
In 2018, Mr Trump was reported to have shared the tale with then-prime minister Theresa May over a meal with their partners at Blenheim Palace.
According to The Sunday Times, President Trump told Mrs May: “I met James Bond and I got all my approvals. James Bond was better than my approvals lawyer.”
Last month, Mr Trump’s company won permission to build a second golf course in Aberdeenshire, overcoming environmental objections.
The president, who criticised predecessor Barack Obama for playing too much golf, has himself made more than 280 daytime visits to golf clubs since January 2017, according to trumpgolfcount.com, which logs his playing habits.
The website estimates the cost to the US taxpayer is $142m (£107m).
Mr Obama has been campaigning for Mr Biden, his former vice president, in the run-up to polling day.
Sir Sean died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday in Nassau, the Bahamas, where he had been “unwell for some time”, his son Jason said.
Another former Bond, Pierce Brosnan – who starred in four 007 films – said he would “cast a long shadow of cinematic splendour that will live on forever”.