Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump praised United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union and attempted to tie it to his own presidential campaign — yet another example, critics from the Hillary Clinton camp said, of his penchant for “pathological self-congratulations.”
The U.K. voted Thursday to leave the European Union, despite opposition from most party leaders in the nation as well as President Barack Obama . Upon news of the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation.
"The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples," Trump said. "They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy."
Trump made the comments as he was in Scotland to promote the opening of Trump Turnberry golf course in Ayrshire.
"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," he said in a statement.
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, echoed Obama, saying in a statement that “we respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made.”
“Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America,” she said, underscoring a major theme of her campaign. And, like the president, she highlighted “America's steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe.”
Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of state, has sought to portray herself as ready to lead the free world on her first day in office, and Trump as grossly unqualified and unsuited for the Oval Office. She kept up that theme on Friday.
“This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans' pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests,” Clinton said. “It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down."
Trump made additional comments about the vote on Twitter.
Self-determination is the sacred right of all free people's, and the people of the UK have exercised that right for all the world to see.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016
America is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder w/a free & ind UK. We stand together as friends, as allies, & as a people w/a shared history.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016
Trump's comments in Scotland came despite the fact that 62 percent of voters in Scotland voted to stay in the E.U.
But Trump's celebration was slightly derailed when red golf balls marked with swastikas littered the grass in front of him.
Trump gave most of his press conference in Scotland surrounded by these Nazi golf balls pic.twitter.com/UsUoVK3nkW— Naomi O'Leary ⚡️ (@NaomiOhReally) June 24, 2016
Also on Friday, Bernie Sanders, who made steps toward a concession in his hard-fought battle for the Democratic presidential nomination with a promise to vote for Clinton, stopped short of joining her in her condemnation of the Brexit move.
When asked about Trump's embrace of Brexit during a Friday morning interview on CNN, Sanders said the vote was a symptom of the ills that globalization has wrought on the working class.
"While it's great for CEOs to be running to China, they're forgetting about the middle class, the working people," who have been hurt by the global economy.
Warren Rojas contributed.