At Trump news conference, it’s all about him
TURNBERRY, United Kingdom (CNN) — Donald Trump arrived in Scotland at the moment the entire world was tuned in to the news that the UK voted to leave the European Union, but his first comments focused — at great length — about his golf course.
The presumptive GOP nominee gave only cursory comments to the Brexit news that roiled global financial markets and stunned politicians around the world. He simply called it “historic” before pivoting to an hour-long press conference that hit on everything from the new golf course he was opening in Scotland to European politics.
“I wish everybody a lot of luck, I think that it’s purely historic and what’s happening is historic,” Trump said.
After those brief remarks he then proceeded to talk about his ties to Scotland and his business, as did his children, for about 15 minutes as the networks cut away — including CNN — and vamped as they waited for him to mention the news of the day. The breadth of topics underscored Trump’s unusual campaign and his refusal to follow a conventional political playbook.
Trump discusses Brexit
When Trump finally turned to the Brexit news, he drew parallels with his own campaign.
“People want to take their country back and they want to have independence in a sense, and you see it in Europe, all over Europe,” Trump said. “They want to take their borders back, they want to take their monetary back. … I think you’re going to have this more and more.”
Trump cast the potential economic turmoil as positive. “If the pound goes down, they’ll do more business,” he said at his Turnberry golf resort. “I think places like Scotland and England, I think you’re going to see a lot of activity. I think it could well turn out to be a positive. What is known is that they’ve taken back their independence. I thought this would be a good thing. Some don’t like (it) and some do like it.”
Trump has echoed those themes in his campaign and in his statement Friday, drawing a direct parallel to the issues driving U.S. voters.
“Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first,” he said.
“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,” Trump added. “I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.”
Trump talks politics overseas
Trump also took his general election campaign against Hillary Clinton to the UK. He slammed the presumptive Democratic nominee for publicly opposing the “Brexit” and urging the British to vote remain in the European Union.
“I was actually very surprised that President Obama would’ve come over here and he would’ve been so bold as to tell the people over here what to do,” Trump said.
Trump even went so far as to say that Obama’s opposition to the “Brexit” may in fact have spurred British voters to vote in favor of leaving the E.U.
“A lot of people don’t like him,” Trump said of Obama. “His recommendation perhaps caused it to fail.”
Trump also knocked Obama for saying that the UK would be at the back of the line in negotiating a free trade deal with the U.S. if it left the EU, which is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the U.S. He also knocked Obama for a big loss at the Supreme Court on Thursday that blocked his executive order on immigration.
Trump also accused Clinton of opposing the Brexit “because Obama wanted it” and slammed her understanding of the public mood.
“She’s always misread everything,” Trump said.
U.S. elected officials and presidential candidates traveling abroad have typically stuck to the longstanding tradition that “politics stops at the water’s edge” and declined to express criticism of U.S. policies and politicians while abroad.
But that tradition has faltered as of late, and Trump isn’t the first to break with precedent.
Obama most recently expressed biting criticism of Trump during a trip to Japan last month when he said that world leaders were “rattled” by the possibility of Trump’s election and accused Trump of displaying “either an ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude” about them.
And Trump noted Friday in his comments that Obama “didn’t stop it at the water’s edge” in urging the UK to remain in the EU.
“I mean he’s constantly dictating to the world what they should do. The world doesn’t listen to him. Obviously, you can see that by the vote. But he is constantly dictating to other countries, so you know, certainly it doesn’t stop At the water’s edge with him and you know, very important, he got it totally wrong,” Trump said, adding he believes Obama is “embarrassed” by the British referendum’s results on Friday.