Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Thursday that Britain would be better off if it leaves the EU.
His comment came after US President Barack Obama made an impassioned appeal last month for Britain to remain in the EU, saying membership had magnified Britain’s place in the world, making the bloc stronger and successful.
“I would say that they’re better off without it personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation – just my feeling … I would say that they’re better off without it, but I want them to make their own decision,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.
“I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe. A lot of that was pushed by the EU,” he said
Britain is expected to vote on June 23 on whether to stay or leave the 28 nation bloc.
Given Trump’s controversial statements and his negative image in the eyes of many Europeans, including Britons, it is not clear whether his endorsement would be good, bad or indifferent for Britain’s “Leave” campaign.
Hundreds and thousands of Britons signed an online petition to ban Trump from the UK last year, after he proposed to ban Muslims from entering US.
After Obama’s intervention, the “Remain” campaign published an advertisement with side-by-side photos of Obama smiling and Trump with a distorted facial expression and a finger in the air.
The slogan read: “Obama thinks the UK is stronger in Europe. Trump thinks the UK should leave Europe. Whose side are you on?”
The image suggested that the official “Remain” campaign viewed Trump repellent to British voters.