Donald Trump hailed Britain’s vote to leave the EU as “fantastic” shortly after arriving in Scotland on Friday for his first international trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s a fantastic thing,” he told reporters.
Ahead of his visit, Trump had told Fox News that he felt Britain should “go it alone” and leave the 28-member EU in a move that could shape the continent.
Trump swooped down by helicopter into his Trump Turnberry golf course, where a large Scottish flag flew in front of the picturesque seafront, as protesters gathered nearby.
The visit is brief, long enough to cut the ribbon on a refurbishment of his golf course, returning to the US presidential campaign by Saturday.
The New York celebrity tycoon has caused alarm in Europe with his abrasive style and pledges to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the border with Mexico.
His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States drew the ire of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the idea “stupid, divisive and wrong”.
His main rival for the presidential vote in November, Hillary Clinton, seized the moment to post a video compilation of criticism from Cameron and others.
“People in Scotland are not thrilled about Trump coming to their country,” Clinton posted on Twitter. “We know the feeling.”
– ‘Not welcome’ –
Two groups, Scotland Against Trump and Stand Up To Racism Scotland bussed protesters to the golf resort to picket the property mogul.
“Scotland is a progressive, tolerant and multicultural country and we oppose the bigotry that Donald Trump represents,” Keir McKechnie of Stand Up To Racism Scotland told AFP.
“We want to tell the world that he’s not welcome here.”
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