President-elect Donald Trump Friday had a "short congratulatory call" with First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon — and transition staff said that the leaders looked "forward to strengthening the relationship between Scotland and the United States."
Trump's call was among several that he has held with world leaders since winning the Nov. 8 election, including with heads of Norway, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.
His talk last week with Taiwanese President T’sai Ing-Wen sent shock waves throughout the diplomatic community and led China to file a formal complaint with the United States, cautioning that the call would undermine nearly four decades of relations with Beijing.
But the Sturgeon call also could signal that Trump might support Scotland's efforts to protect its economy should the United Kingdom break off abruptly from the European Community after the Brexit vote earlier this year.
Scotland voted to remain within the EU in June — but Sturgeon has since warned British leaders that another referendum might occur if they pursued a so-called "hard Brexit" approach, which could damage her nation's economy.
Sturgeon, 46, who assumed office in 2014, has long supported independence.
That year, Scotland's exports to the United States totaled more than $4.4 billion — the largest outside of the United Kingdom.
Trump has deep ties to Scotland.
His mother — Mary Anne, who died in 2000 — was born on the Isle of Lewis. She came to the United States in 1929.
In addition, the president-elect has two Scottish golf courses, in Aberdeenshire and Turnberry in Ayrshire.
Trump reopened Turnberry the day after the June 23 Brexit vote. He had invested $290 million to renovate the site, which includes its legendary golf course.
"They took back control of their country," Trump, the Republican presidential candidate at the time, said of how Britons voted. "It's a great thing.
"People are angry, all over the world, they're angry.
"They're angry over borders, they're angry over people coming into the country and taking over," he said. "Nobody even knows who they are.
"They're angry about many, many things."
Scotland, however, voted 62 to 38 percent to remain in the EU. In 2014, Scots endorsed staying within the UK.
Friday's call also marked a turnabout for Sturgeon, who said in June that she would be "horrified" if Trump became president, DW.com reports.
Scottish officials also rescinded Trump's membership in the GlobalScot business network last year in response to his Muslim ban.
But in October, Sturgeon warned British leaders that a second referendum on independence might occur should the country take a "hard Brexit" departure from the EU.
She vowed that she would "make sure" Scots got another vote if living standards fell and unemployment rose because of Britain's move.
Sturgeon's government also has begun preparing a bill that would lay the foundation for another independence referendum
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the formal withdrawal process would begin by March 31, 2017.
The process is expected to take at least two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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