ALEX Salmond has described Donald Trump's claim that Sean Connery helped him get planning permission for a “big development” in Scotland as "silly".

Taking time off from his re-election campaign, the president took to social media to say the James Bond actor - who died on Saturday at the age of 90 - had stepped in and helped him avoid “years of future turmoil”.

Trump hailed Connery as a “great actor and an even greater man”.

He tweeted: “The legendary actor, 007 Sean Connery, has past [sic] on to even greener fairways. He was quite a guy, and a tough character.

READ MORE: 'Sean Connery stepped in to help me build in Scotland', Donald Trump claims

“I was having a very hard time getting approvals for a big development in Scotland when Sean stepped in and shouted,'Let him build the damn thing'. That was 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!”

It’s likely Trump is referring to his course in Aberdeenshire.

Back in 2007, the plans to build a luxury golf resort on the Menie Estate near Balmedie were thrown into disarray when the local council refused to grant planning permission for the project.

The Scottish Government then “called in” the planning decision, and in November 2008 ministers approved the development, as they said it would have “significant economic and social benefit”.

Trump had promised to invest £1 billion and bring 6000 jobs to the North East.

He later fell out with Salmond and the Scottish Government when ministers refused to block a planned offshore wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast.

Trump eventually sued the Scottish Government but lost.

Asked for a comment on Trump’s tweet, Salmond told The National: “Scotland and much of the world is mourning the loss of a great spirit.

“Sean Connery’s contribution and life’s work was immense, real and lasting and everyone with an ounce of class is reflecting upon just that today.

"Tributes are great from all sources but this not a time for tweeting silly claims or indeed responding to them.”

However, the Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the Scottish Government needed to “clarify the situation immediately”.

Harvie said: “Trump’s lies and delusions are often so bizarre that I wouldn’t believe him if he said that rain was wet.

"However if there is any possibility of truth to this claim then John Swinney, who was central to the decision to overturn the Scottish planning system to help Trump, needs to clarify the situation immediately.”

The Scottish Government said it wasn’t clear what Trump was tweeting about, and referred The National to the White House for further details.