In the face of dispiriting new poll numbers and fundraising woes, Donald Trump and his supporters took solace Sunday in last week’s stunning Brexit vote as the latest evidence of an anti-establishment mood that’s also seen in the presumptive Republican presidential front-runner’s meteoric rise.
Paul Manafort, senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Brexit was about “people taking back control,” which he says are “the same issues that cause the angst in America today,” and will be driving themes in the 2016 election.
“And the issues, the promises that globalism is the solution, the promise that government’s going to make your life better if you just give up your freedoms, the promises that we know better than you on how to make your lives better, have been rejected,” Manafort said.
“That’s what Donald Trump has identified, that’s what Brexit identified, and that’s what’s going to be the basis for the election in 2016.” Trump, on a golf business trip to Scotland last week, said the Brexit vote “will not be the last” show of nationalism. And with the value of the British pound sharply dropping, Trump added that it will be good for tourism.
“If the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry frankly,” he said about his golf resort. Hillary Clinton’s campaign mocked Trump’s comments, putting out a video that contrasted news reports of tanking global markets, with Trump discussing additions to his golf course, including a lighthouse.
Manafort said the ad fails to distract voters from “the fact that she is part of the problem that’s being rejected.” “So when she tries to distract with commercials like this, she’s once again showing that she is absolutely afraid of the consequences of what Brexit represented and what the Trump phenomenon in the primaries represented, which is historic numbers of people voting for change against the establishment,” Manafort added on NBC.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, considered a possible Trump veep pick, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Scotland event was “one of his best events,” demonstrating he was “a business person, an outsider.”
“Almost the entire establishment in the UK was in the ‘remain’ camp. Look, there’s something in our society, it’s happening in Western societies, where there’s tremendous anxiety over economic stagnation, the whole issue of refugees and immigration that’s changing the context of countries and then this faceless bureaucracy that’s not really responding to people,” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said.
“So the genius of what’s happened with the candidacy of Donald Trump is he has given voice to that, just as was given in the UK recently,” Corker said. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, reportedly a top contender on Clinton’s veep list, acknowledged that there “are parallels” between Brexit and divisions in the United States, but he highlighted an age divide on the issue, rather than socio-economic.
“Young voters, those under 50, especially millennials, overwhelmingly voted to stay,” Kaine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And it was older voters who voted to leave. And certainly immigration issues are important and a concern about some of the European regulation, et cetera.” Echoing the Clinton video, Kaine also criticized Trump’s response to the Brexit vote, saying, “This is a guy who will always put himself first.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders did not shy away from tying Brexit to economic “resentment throughout Europe and U.K. and in United States about a global economy which works well very, very well for large multinational corporations” but “is not working in many ways for middle class and working families in this country,” mirroring the sentiments that bolstered his own political campaign.
“What ordinary people are saying is, ‘Hey, give us an economy that works for all of us, and not just to the people on top,'” Sanders said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And I think that is, to a significant degree, what this Brexit was about,” he added.
Sanders rejected the suggestion that Brexit may also be reflected in Trump’s candidacy, saying instead that the “American people understand” that Trump is “campaigning on giving hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to billionaire families, like his.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was less willing to tie Trump to the Brexit vote. Instead, on Sunday, McConnell linked it to President Barack Obama and bureaucratic overreach.
“I think 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,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And, of course, we have a lot of that here in this country,” McConnell said.
“A lot of the president’s bureaucrats expanding regulations in a way that slow our economy and make it difficult for us to have growth, even though we didn’t pass any legislation allowing them to do that.”
McConnell also hedged on whether he considered Trump as qualified for the job, after a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday found that 64 percent of voters believe Trump is not qualified to be president. “The American people will be able to make that decision in the fall,” McConnell said.
by Elena Schneider