Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will visit the United Kingdom on June 24, the day that final results from the highly anticipated “Brexit” vote are expected to be tallied.
Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks confirmed that Trump will travel to Scotland on the 24 to visit the Turnberry Golf Resort, a property he has been working to open since buying the Turnberry hotel in 2014.
But the timing of Trump’s visit, ostensibly for business purposes, is significant. On June 23, the U.K. will vote on the critical issue of whether it should stay in the European Union, a decision with far-reaching consequences for both the country and the institution. A finally tally of the vote is expected on the 24.
Trump’s visit to the UK was first reported by the Guardian.
Trump has said he supports the “leave” side of the Brexit debate, though he hasn’t spent much time discussing the issue. He told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday, “Oh yeah, I think they should leave.”
And he told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” earlier this month that if he were president, an exit from the EU would not hurt the U.K. in terms of trade relations with the U.S.
“I don’t think they’ll be hurt at all. I mean, they’ll have to make their own deal. Britain’s been a great ally,” Trump said.
President Barack Obama has urged the U.K. to stay in the EU, writing an op-ed in the British newspaper “The Telegraph” about the vote.
“As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices,” Obama wrote. “The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it. A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership.”
In response, the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, a “Brexit” supporter, wrote an op-ed for “The Sun” newspaper suggesting the “the part-Kenyan President” had an “ancestral dislike of the British empire.”
Advocates for the “Brexit” argue that remaining in the EU undermines U.K. sovereignty, preventing them from negotiating better trade deals and locking them into a open-door immigration policy. Critics, though, caution that leaving the EU risks economic fallout once the U.K. is no longer included in favorable EU trade deals, and that Britain’s exit would weaken the institution as a bulwark against Russia at a time of increasing tension in Eastern Europe.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who originally proposed the “Brexit” vote while running for office in 2013, has nevertheless campaigned aggressively in favor of the U.K. staying. And the vote is expected to be close – a poll from the British newspaper “The Guardian” released Wednesday found British opinions were split 52-48 in favor of leaving the EU.
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.