SINCE his inauguration in January, Donald Trump has spent 33 days, or around 20 per cent of his presidency, playing golf. He’s also spent one-third of his time away from the White House staying in one of his own luxury hotels. So, it was no great surprise to learn this weekend that his first trip to the UK as President of the United States may be a flying visit to one of his Scottish golf courses between meetings with other world leaders in Europe later next week.

It wasn’t so long ago that Theresa May was walking hand in hand with the President through the White House’s Rose Garden, proclaiming their special relationship and pinning her hopes on agreeing a speedy US trade deal to soften the impact of a hard Brexit. Her ambitions for this were based on flattering the Narcissist-in-Chief with the tantalising prospect of a full state visit – including a state banquet, an overnight stay in a royal palace and a private audience with Her Majesty the Queen.

Now, if reports are to be believed, he’s due to arrive with only a few hours’ notice after meeting with Vladimir Putin and others at the G20 Summit to hit a few balls before being whisked off in the morning to the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris with Emmanuel Macron. Theresa May might get a quick meeting with The Donald in Downing Street, if he can negotiate his statutory 18 holes in time.

It’s almost as if President Trump is avoiding the Prime Minister. Even from 4000 miles away he can see her influence melting away, trickling through her hands with every passing day. In office but not in power.

Imagine being so unpopular that Donald Trump doesn’t want tainted by association. The shame. Perhaps she should offer to be his caddy.

It’s perhaps no wonder, however, that afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace has moved down the President’s agenda. Since taking office he’s presided over an administration which is at best in chaos, and is at worst involved in a conspiracy to undermine the democratic process and pervert democracy itself.

Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not of the view that Donald Trump is simply a buffoon, a TV reality star who fluked an election against a historically unpopular opponent. This thread of opinion says he’s out of his depth, floundering in office through a lack of skill and experience. That sooner or later, the public will see through his bluster and he’ll be exposed for the fraud he is, so that the US establishment can take back control of both the political narrative and the mechanisms of government.

This is a complacent, outdated approach. Trump remains a clear and present threat to peace and democracy in the US and across the world. He has a plan, and he’s implementing it in a highly successful and co-ordinated way. It’s very simple.

He’s out for personal gain, to make as much profit as he can from his time in office. This self-proclaimed master salesman saw an opportunity to elevate himself to the starring role in the greatest reality show in the world and he seized it with both hands. Now he’s determined to do all he can in office to grow his personal fortune.

It’s increasingly clear that to do so, he’s attempted to use his connections with Russia to help rig the election. During the campaign hackers accessed and published a series of damaging emails stolen from the Democratic campaign supporting Hillary Clinton. Although it’s still unclear what the actual role played by Trump’s team was, it’s increasingly obvious that the President is going out of his way to suppress the investigation and distract the public’s attention from the issue.

First, he appointed Paul Manafort, a political operative with close links to Russia, to run his campaign, and then it emerged that members of his senior team, including Jeff Sessions, his appointment as US Attorney General, had undocumented meetings with Russian representatives during the campaign itself. Now he’s fired the head of the FBI after he failed to pressure him into dropping an investigation of these very links.

Since then he’s managed to deflect attention from the issue through his adept use of social media, combined with his continued, partisan and outrageous attacks on the mainstream media. I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that some of the more outrageous allegations surrounding Trump’s personal behaviour or conduct, including this weekend’s bizarre tweet of a video picturing the President wrestling with a caricature of the CNN news network, have all appeared at the height of public interest in his connections to Russia. It’s a planned and thoughtful strategy, which has been absolutely successful.

When Trump eventually comes to Scotland, it’s right and proper that we use our right to peaceful demonstration to protest his presence and his abhorrent policies. But as we denigrate his personal conduct and racist politics, let’s also keep our eyes on his dangerous relationship with Russia.

It’s this relationship which helped pave Trump’s way to the White House last year. It’s now increasingly clear that this connection will play a central part in determining how long he remains in office.