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Donald Trump Hails Brexit Vote as Brits ‘Taking Back Their Country’

June 24, 2016, 8:53 AM UTC
The Trump International Golf Links Course Opens
Photograph by Ian MacNicol Getty Images

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday weighed in on Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union during a business trip to Scotland to christen his newly refurbished Turnberry golf resort.

As he arrived at the resort Friday morning, Trump told a gaggle of reporters that the Brexit vote “is a great thing” and that it represents the British people taking their country back, according to media reports.

In May, Trump said his personal belief—as opposed to an official recommendation—was that the U.K. would be better off apart from the EU. In explaining that stance, Trump mainly cited immigration. “I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe,” Trump said. “A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they’re better off without it, personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation. Just my feeling.”

Either way, Trump is one of the only foreign luminaries to have weighed on the side of the ultimate winners of the vote. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and almost all of the serving government heads in the other 27 E.U. states had urged the U.K. not to leave.

Trump has also speculated that he might have a poor relationship with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron since the British leader has called Trump’s prospective ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. “divisive, stupid and wrong.”

“It looks like we are not going to have a very good relationship,” Trump said in an interview with ITV in May. “Who knows, I hope to have a good relationship with him, but he’s not willing to address the problem either,” Trump said, referring to Islamist extremism.

That will no longer be an issue if Trump wins the presidency since Cameron announced his resignation on Friday shortly after the Brexit vote was announced. The U.K. will have a new prime minister by October.

U.S. presidential candidates typically take trips abroad to forge relationships with international leaders, but Trump—continuing is unorthodox bid for the White House—made this one for business. Trump bought the Ayrshire hotel and Open Championship golf course in Scotland from Dubai-based Leisurecorp for an undisclosed sum in 2014 and added his name to the resort as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment.