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Scotland's Leader Says Trump Wouldn't Be Allowed To Visit Under Pandemic Rules

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says President Trump wouldn't be allowed to visit Scotland to golf during its pandemic lockdown, responding to speculation that Trump might travel to a Scottish golf resort rather than attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

"We are not allowing people to come in to Scotland without an essential purpose right now and that would apply to him, just as it applies to anybody else," Sturgeon said after being asked about Trump on Tuesday. "Coming to play golf is not what I would consider to be an essential purpose."

Sturgeon was responding to questions spurred by a report in the Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post, which cited a source at Prestwick Airport as saying the facility has been told a U.S. military Boeing 757 aircraft will arrive on Jan. 19, the day before Trump's term expires and Biden is inaugurated.

The outgoing U.S. president customarily attends his successor's inauguration at the U.S. Capitol. But Trump has refused to concede defeat in the 2020 race, and political insiders have told NPR that Trump is considering a reelection bid for 2024 — and that he might time his announcement to undercut Biden's swearing-in.

As for the chance that Trump might use an international trip to one of his golf resorts to avoid the handover of power, Sturgeon said she has not been told of any of Trump's travel plans.

"I hope and expect that, as everybody hopes – well, as everybody expects, not everybody necessarily will hope – that the travel plan immediately that he has is to exit the White House," Sturgeon said. "But beyond that, I don't know."

She reiterated her government's travel restrictions to clamp down on the spread of the coronavirus.

"There is a booking for an American military version of the Boeing 757 on January 19, the day before the inauguration," the anonymous source told The Sunday Post. "That's one that's normally used by the Vice-President but often used by the First Lady."

The newspaper also noted that in November, U.S. military aircraft were positioned at the Prestwick Airport and had been seen circling Trump's golf resort in Ayrshire, the county southwest of Glasgow.

As Sturgeon took questions on Tuesday, she spoke from a lectern emblazoned with her government's message during its lockdown: "Stay At Home."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.