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

Mother Jones Illustration; Shuttershock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

 

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate