Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

June 26,2016

WASHINGTON— Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence Trump is unfit to be president.

Brexit’s surprise victory left the Obama administration scrambling to put the best face on an outcome it didn’t want.

“One country has made a decision,” said Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday in Rome. “Obviously, it was a decision the United States had hoped would go the other way. But it didn’t. And so we begin with a fundamental respect for voters."

‘Country back’

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to welcome the outcome, speaking in Scotland one day after the Brexit referendum.

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton are seen in a combination photo.
FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton are seen in a combination photo.

“People want to take their country back,” Trump said Friday at a golf resort bearing his name. “They want to have independence, in a sense... I really do see a parallel between what’s happening in the United States and what’s happening here. People want to see borders.”

Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign pounced on Trump’s assertion that British monetary turmoil might benefit his Scottish business venture.

“Every president is tested by world events. But Donald Trump thinks about how his golf resort can profit from them,” intoned a new Clinton campaign advertisement. “In a volatile world, the last thing we need is a volatile president.”

But if the Brexit vote illuminated public discontent on one side of the Atlantic, Republicans said similar sentiments exist on the other side, as well.

“What you saw in England, at least from what I read, is that people got tired of being dictated to by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on ABC’s This Week program. “And of course we have a lot of that here in this country. A lot of the president’s bureaucrats expanding regulations in a way that slows our economy and makes it difficult to have growth.”

Clinton leading polls

A new poll shows Clinton leading Trump by 12 points, but most voters want a new direction for America. Democrats insisted the electorate is not blinded by unease and discontent.

“The differences between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump in terms of temperament, in terms of judgment, in terms of values couldn’t be more stark. And they are on display once again over the last two weeks,” said Labor Secretary and Clinton ally Tom Perez, also speaking on This Week.

A trans-Atlantic shockwave rattling a lackluster U.S. economic recovery could be a wild card in the election. The Obama administration is stressing the need to minimize disruptions stemming from Brexit.