Trump Praises Historic UK ‘Independence Day’ Vote
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, thrusting himself into the heart of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, drew parallels on Friday to his own campaign to limit illegal immigration and build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico.
In Scotland to reopen a golf resort he owns, the wealthy New York businessman told a news conference: “People really see a big parallel. A lot of people are talking about that, and not only the United States but other countries.”
“People want to take their country back. They want to have independence in a sense. You see it with Europe, all over Europe,” said Trump, 70, the presumptive Republican nominee in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.
“You’re going to have many other cases where they want to take their borders back,” he said.
“So I think you’re going to have this happen more and more. I really believe that, and I think that it’s happening in the United States. It’s happening by the fact that I’ve done so well in the polls.”
Trump arrived in his signature helicopter at Turnberry near his clubhouse resort, a Scottish flag blowing in the wind. He said the vote was a setback also to U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat who had urged Britons to stay in the EU.
“It’s something he shouldn’t have done. It’s not his country. It’s not his part of the world. He shouldn’t have done it. And I actually think that his recommendation perhaps caused it to fail,” Trump said.
Weeks ago Trump said he would be inclined to leave the EU. On Friday he told reporters: “I said this was going to happen and I think that it’s a great thing.”
Trump had exchanged insults with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported staying in the EU and said on Friday after the vote he would resign by October. Cameron had called Trump’s anti-immigrant policy ideas divisive and wrong.
“I think David Cameron is a good man. He was wrong on this,” Trump said. He predicted Britain and the United States would remain “great allies.”
More than half a million Britons signed a petition earlier this year to bar Trump from entering Britain, where he has business interests, in response to his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
British lawmakers decided against a ban as a violation of free speech.
‘TOOK THEIR COUNTRY BACK’
Wearing a white hat emblazoned with his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan on his arrival, Trump walked up the steps toward the clubhouse with daughter Ivanka and son Eric. Two bagpipers walked ahead.
Trump was visiting the golf resort in his family’s ancestral homeland to showcase his far-flung business empire. His mother was born on Scotland‘s Isle of Lewis. He spent much of the news conference praising the resort, his mother and his children.
His visit to Turnberry, to be followed by a stop at his resort in Aberdeen on Saturday, coincided with a vote that exposed deep divisions in Britain and dealt the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.
“Just arrived in Scotland,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!”
As it happened, Scotland voted by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent to remain in the EU, a result sharply at odds with Britain as a whole, which voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave.
Republicans had cautioned that Trump, who has yet to hold public office and rates unfavorably with 70 percent of Americans in an opinion poll, risked making a foreign policy misstep at a time when Republican leaders are urging a more serious demeanor.
Republican officials said he should concentrate on strengthening his campaign and taking the fight to the presumptive Democratic nominee, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is 68.
The last Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in 2012 made a gaffe-filled campaign trip to London, Jerusalem and Poland.
Trump defeated a crowded field of opponents for the Republican nomination while weathering one controversy after another. The latest was over the firing of his campaign manager this week, a month before the party convention.
Turnberry is a storied course where the Open Championship has been staged four times. Trump invested $290 million in renovating the resort and golf course on Scotland‘s west coast, 85 km (53 miles) southwest of Glasgow.
Trump has portrayed his determination to build up courses in Turnberry and Aberdeen and overcome local opposition as an example of the type of leadership that Americans would get if he wins the White House.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Writing by Howard Goller; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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