“Trade protectionism is so unhealthy,” Branson said. “What happened with Brexit is a terrible, terrible thing for Great Britain and Europe and will set back Great Britain and may take several years to recover.”
During the interview, Branson said that smaller businesses were already feeling the impact of Britain leaving the EU, a process that will come into effect in two years time. “If we do see a hard Brexit, that will be catastrophic for Britain and damaging for Europe too,” he said, referring to a situation where the U.K. would likely give up full access to the EU single market.
Branson also criticized certain Trump policies—including the travel ban against certain nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, calling it “unhealthy and dangerous.”
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“What is happening in America at the moment is extremely unhealthy and dangerous and we will certainly speak out on that,” he said.
But he offered a more optimistic vision for what could happen in the U.S. longer term: “I think once people have lived with Donald Trump for two or three years, I’m hopeful things will reverse in America and decency will come back and walls can be broken down again,” he said.