Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, in Scotland to open his new take on the Turnberry golf course, called the U.K. vote to exit the EU (tabbed the "Brexit") a "brave and brilliant vote" and related that "Britain first" move to what he is hoping drives him to victory in his bid for the White House—"America first" reform of trade and immigration.
He was clearly not playing to the crowd, since Scotland voted overwhelmingly not to Brexit, nor to the financial markets, which were tanking on the news and the uncertainty that came with it. For one thing, the U.K. will have to renegotiate trade agreements.
"The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples," he said in a statement following the vote. "They have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration.
"Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again."
Asked by a reporter after his golf speech about Brexit, Trump did say that he saw a "big parallel" with how well he has done in the polls: "People want to take their country back. People want to see borders. People don't necessarily want to see people pouring in their country."
President Obama had warned that a Brexit would mean the U.K. would be at the back of the line when negotiating trade deals. Trump said that would not be the case in a Trump presidency.
He called the vote the will of the people, which he says ultimately wins out. "They got tired of seeing stupid decisions, just like the American people," he said. "People want to take their country back."
Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations does not agree with Trump that the Brexit is a good thing, saying in a debate before the vote that it would leave "both the EU and the U.K. weaker and more divided," adding: "How any of this could be good for the people of the United Kingdom, Europe, or the United States is a mystery."