Britain would be ‘better off without’ the EU, says Donald Trump

Presumptive Republican nominee weighs in on Brexit, blaming EU for migration crisis

Donald Trump at a rally  in Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday. Photograph:  Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

Donald Trump at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

 

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has weighed into the Brexit debate, saying that the UK would be “better off without” the European Union.

The billionaire, who saw off 16 rivals in the Republican presidential primary with a strongly anti-immigration agenda, said that his support for Britain leaving the EU was not a “recommendation” but what he personally believed.

He framed his backing for Brexit in the country’s June 23rd referendum around the migration crisis in Europe, blaming policies pushed by the EU for the flood of migrants and refugees into Europe from the Middle East.

“I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe – a lot of that was pushed by the EU,” he told Fox News on Thursday night. “I would say [the UK] are better off without [the EU], personally, I’m not making that as a recommendation. Just my feeling.”

He added: “I know Great Britain very well. I know, you know, the country very well. I have a lot of investments there.

“I would say that they’re better off without it. But I want them to make their own decision.”

Mr Trump, who owns golf courses in Scotland, the birthplace of his mother, had only days early criticised President Barack Obama for not remaining “more neutral” and urging Britons to vote to remain in the EU when he visited London last month.

“I didn’t think it was a good thing for him to do it,” the New York property developer told the Daily Mail.

In that interview, the businessman declined to advise how Britain should vote.

“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 EU,” he said.

Mr Trump’s latest remarks on Brexit come 24 hours after British prime minister David Cameron said that he had “no intention” of apologising for calling his proposal to bar Muslims from the US “divisive, stupid and wrong”.

The billionaire’s presumptive victory in the Republican primary campaign, a win that is all but certain after his last two opponents withdrew from the race this week, causes problems for Mr Cameron, as he must attempt to patch up relations with the standard-bearer for the Republican Party in November’s election.

The British prime minister said that he would be prepared to meet Mr Trump if the candidate, as expected, visits the UK this summer.

Hillary Clinton, who will likely be the Democratic Party nominee challenging the businessman for the White House, last month threw her weight behind Mr Cameron’s campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

At an Irish-American campaign event in New York, former president Bill Clinton said his wife believed that Brexit would be “awful for Ireland and pretty tough for Northern Ireland”.