Donald Trump hailed Britain’s vote to leave the European Union 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,” the U.S. presidential candidate told reporters.
He said Britons “took back control of their country” by voting to leave the EU.
Trump has traveled to Scotland to mark the opening of the Turnberry golf resort, which he purchased two years ago and spent more than $300 million rehabilitating.
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 the golf course, where a large Scottish flag flew in front of the picturesque seafront, as protesters gathered nearby.
Two groups, Scotland Against Trump and Stand Up To Racism Scotland bussed protesters to the golf resort to picket the property mogul.
However, he was greeted by a pair of bagpipers and dozens of resort staff members wearing “Make Turnberry Great Again” hats.
The visit is brief, long enough to cut the ribbon on a refurbishment of his golf course, returning to the U.S. 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.”