Donald Trump appears to be in favor of the British movement to exit the European Union, a matter that is being put to referendum next month. The prospect of a "Brexit," as the potential act has become known, is opposed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior European leaders.
President Obama also controversially waded into the heated debate last month, warning that leaving the European Union would diminish Britain's role on the world stage and leave it at "the back of the queue" for trade deals with the United States. Brexit supporters and other conservative politicians reacted angrily to Obama's perceived interference in British matters.
Trump, too, joined the chorus of condemnation.
"I didn't think it was a good thing for him to do it," the presumptive Republican nominee told the Daily Mail earlier this week, insisting that Obama should have remained neutral.
"I would say that I'm not going to give Britain any advice, but I know there are a lot of people that are very, very much against being in the E.U.," he added.
Yet on Thursday, just days later, Trump did give Britain his advice during an interview with Fox News.
"I would say [the British] are better off without [the E.U.], personally," he said, and then offered a rather bizarre clarification to an on-the-record statement: "But I'm not making that as a recommendation, just my feeling."
It's not surprising that Trump feels sympathy for Brexit supporters, whose anger over immigration and frustration with bureaucrats and political elites is echoed by the Republican base. During his first comprehensive foreign policy speech last month, Trump seemed to parrot the rhetoric of Euroskeptics across the pond.
He celebrated the "nation-state" as "the true foundation for happiness and harmony" and said he was "skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down, and will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs."
Earlier this year, Trump was the subject of a somewhat farcical debate in the British parliament over whether he should be banned from entering the country because of his comments about Muslims and other remarks regarded as bigoted. It was decided that no ban should be enacted but not before a lot of colorful language got deployed to describe the loud-mouthed mogul.
That whole fuss now seems to be water under London Bridge.
"I know Great Britain very well, I know the country very well. I have a lot of investments there," Trump told Fox News, and insisted that "migration has been a horrible thing for Europe."
As a tentative backer of the Brexit, he joins a conspicuous cast of other politicians supporting what could be a hammer blow to the unity of Europe, including French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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