Donald Trump, the presumptive U.S. Republican presidential nominee, cheered Britain on Friday for voting to leave the European Union, saying “they took back their country.”
Donald Trump on Brexit and what happens next, now that Great Britain have voted to leave the European Union.
“They’re angry over borders. They’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over, and nobody even knows who they are,” Trump said in response to questions to reporters after his helicopter touched down here. “They’re angry about many, many things.”
The anger is widespread, he said, adding that “this will not be the last.”
Asked if the result bodes well for his campaign, Trump said: “We will see.”
“Basically, they took back their country,” he said. “That’s a great thing.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, Trump said British voters had “exercised the sacred right of all free peoples” and promised to retain close economic ties with Britain: “A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense.”
He said much the same during a boastful news conference at one of his golf courses in Scotland, which voted heavily to remain in the EU.
Trump said he saw “a big parallel” between his own movement and the surge of momentum behind the Brexit vote. “People want to take their country back. They want to have independence, in a sense. You see it with Europe, all over Europe. You’re going to have more than just what happened last night, you’re going to have, I think, many other cases where they want to take their borders back, they want to take their monetary back, they want to take a lot of things back. They want to be able to have a country again. So I think you’re going to have this happen more and more, I really believe that. I think it’s happening in the United States.”
“They’re not happy with the people flowing into the country. They don’t want that to happen and I think that has a lot to do with it,” Trump said, highlighting anti-immigration sentiments on both sides of the Atlantic. “I really think the borders, you know, it’s not so different. It’s amazing: The world is not so different. We’re on the other side of the ocean, but the world is not so different.
“We’re right over there,” he said, pointing to the water. “You go many many miles in that direction.”
The European Union is likely to break up as result of the Brexit vote, Trump predicted.
“Well, it looks like it’s on it’s way and we’ll see what happens,” he said when asked if he saw the referendum outcome as a precursor to a European Union breakup. “So I could see it happening. I have no opinion, really, but I could certainly see it happening. I saw this happening. I could read what was happening here and I could see things happening in Germany.
“I hope they straighten out the situation because you know it can really be very nasty. What’s going on can be really, really nasty,” he said.
Trump said he saw a brighter side, however, in the economic volatility unleashed by Britain’s vote.
“Look,” he said of his golf course, “if the pound goes down they’re going to do more business. You know, when the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.
“The pound got high, and people weren’t able to do maybe what they wanted to do, but for traveling and for other things, you know, I think it could very well turn out to be a positive,” he added.
He also took a few shots at U.S. President Barack Obama and the Democrat seeking to replace him, Hillary Clinton — both of whom had urged British voters to see the wisdom of staying in the EU.
“Well, she’s always misread everything. She’s misread this, and I was surprised that she was so bold,” Trump said of Clinton. “The only reason she did it is because Obama wanted it. You know, if Obama wanted it the other way — if he said ‘leave,’ she would have said ‘leave.’ She does whatever he wants her to do.”
Trump said he was “surprised that Obama came over here and was so bold as to tell people here what to do. And I think that a lot of people don’t like him and I think if he had not said it, I think your result might have been different. But when he said it, people were not happy about it and I thought it was totally inappropriate.”
“And then she doubled down and she did the same thing,” Trump added incredulously. “They’re always wrong, and that’s the problem with them.”
Trump predicted that the Brexit vote would have no impact on the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain. Asked if he would support immediately negotiating a new trade deal with the U.K., Trump once again criticized the president and said he would prioritize America’s “great ally.”
“President Obama did say, I guess, that they should move to the back of the line. That wouldn’t happen with me,” Trump said, prompting applause from Turnberry members attending the press conference. “The U.K. has been such a great ally for so long, they’ll always be at the front of the line. They’ve been amazing allies, in good times and in bad times.”
Trump had repeatedly backed Britain leaving the EU, telling the Sunday Times earlier this week: “I would personally be more inclined to Leave, for a lot of reasons like having a lot less bureaucracy.”
Trump had previously said the U.K. should leave the EU because migration “[had] been a terrible thing” for the country.
On Thursday, Trump’s spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, told Sky News: “America is here because of its own little Brexit.”