Donald Trump has touched down in Scotland in the middle of the UK’s biggest political crisis for decades to welcome Brexit, hailing the referendum result as a reflection of anger over loss of control to the European Union.
“The UK had taken back control. It is a great thing,” the Republican presidential candidate said.
He landed by helicopter on the front lawn of his Trump Turnberry golf resort shortly after 9am on Friday to find a Britain shell-shocked by the Brexit vote.
Wearing a white baseball cap, Trump strode the couple of hundred yards up the gravel path to the Ayrshire hotel accompanied by his family. He was not scheduled to speak to the press but could not resist responding to shouted questions from the media scrum. .
He described the referendum result as a historic vote and predicted many such uprisings around the world. “It will not be the last. There is lots of anger.”
Referring specifically to the UK, he said: “They are angry over people coming and taking control. They are angry about many things.”
He said the UK would recover. “It will heal,” he said.
He was asked about David Cameron but appeared to be saving himself for a later press conference, scheduled for 11am. Brexit is better for him than a remain vote and not just because he expressed vague support last week for leave.
He flew overnight from New York to Glasgow Prestwick airport, where he transferred to one of his three Trump helicopters: he keeps two in the US and one in the UK, with Trump in big red capital letters along the side. He took the short helicopter ride to his hotel.
He stepped down on the lawn to the sound of two pipers in full Highland regalia against the backdrop of the saltire, one of the biggest in Scotland, fluttering over the golf course.
The UK visit, Trump’s only overseas trip since he launched his White House bid, was set up primarily with business in mind, to cut a ribbon formally opening the renovated hotel.
It was a seemingly odd move for a presidential candidate, most of whom use such trips to demonstrate their grasp of foreign policy and be pictured with world leaders. But he may yet make a more conventional campaign trip by going to Israel.
US-based reporters travelled separately by charter, or at least those not put off in these financially strained times by the reported $10,000 price tag.