Nigel Farage: Trump can win by copying Brexit ‘army’

Anti-EU politician draws parallels between campaigns at Republican’s rally

UK politician Nigel Farage urged Donald Trump's supporters to "get your walking boots on" and campaign for the Republican presidential nominee if they wanted change in the US.

The billionaire New Yorker shared a stage with Mr Farage at his rally in Jackson, Mississippi last night, introducing the anti-EU politician as the man who "brilliantly" led the campaign for Britain's exit from the European Union "despite all odds."

Mr Farage’s appearance was aimed at boosting Mr Trump’s flagging poll numbers and presenting him as a candidate who, like the Brexit vote, could confound the critics and come from behind to win.

The British politician opened his speech by telling the businessman's supporters that he had come from the United Kingdom "with a message of hope and a message of optimism."

Speaking to a crowd of about 15,000 people, the outgoing Ukip leader drew parallels between that anti-establishment campaign and Mr Trump’s insurgent presidential bid.

Shortly after Mr Trump had said that the November 8th presidential election would be “our chance to re-declare American independence,” Mr Farage proclaimed the June 23rd Brexit vote “our independence day when we smashed the establishment.”

“The parallels are there: there are millions of ordinary Americans who have been let down, who have had a bad time, who feel the political class in Washington are detached from them,” he told the rally.

Mr Farage said that voters had a “fantastic opportunity” with Mr Trump and they could win with the same kind of grassroots campaign as the Leave campaign in the UK.

He said that they could “beat” the pollsters, the commentators and Washington by “doing what we did for Brexit in Britain” with a “people’s army of ordinary citizens.”

“If you want change in this country, you better get your walking boots on, you better get out there campaigning and remember anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment,” he said during his six-minute speech.

Mr Trump, who trails rival Hillary Clinton in the polls, called Brexit a "great thing" and proudly declared last night he had predicted the UK vote.

In a tweet last week, the property developer said: "They will soon be calling me Mr Brexit, " implying that his own underdog campaign would ultimately be successful too.

Mr Farage stopped of a formal endorsement of Mr Trump, saying that he could not tell voters who to back in the November 8th election having condemned President Barack Obama for urging the British people to vote to stay in the EU in the June referendum.

“He talked down to us,” said Mr Farage. “He treated us as if we were nothing.”

But at the encouraging of chants from the crowd, the British MEP all but endorsed the Republican nominee.

“If I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me,” he said, to cheers. “In fact, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me.”

Mr Trump drew fire for his speech when he said: “Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of colour only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future.”

Speaking to CNN after his rally, Mrs Clinton accused her rival of “taking a hate movement mainstream” and “very much peddling bigotry and prejudice and paranoia.”

She rejected Mr Trump's accusations that she sold access to public office for donors to the Clinton Foundation, her family's charity, as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

“What Trump has said is ridiculous. My work as secretary of state was not influenced by any outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right,” she said. She added: “I know there’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent