US Elections 2016

Brexit leader Farage lends support to Trump at rally

Mr Farage (right), former leader of United Kingdom Independence Party, appeared with Mr Trump (left) before a cheering crowd of thousands at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday.
Mr Farage (right), former leader of United Kingdom Independence Party, appeared with Mr Trump (left) before a cheering crowd of thousands at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He draws parallels between Trump and him; slams Clinton

JACKSON (Mississippi) • Mr Nigel Farage, a key figure in the successful campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, lent his support to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying Mr Trump represented the same type of anti-establishment movement that he masterminded in his own country.

Mr Farage, former leader of United Kingdom Independence Party, appeared with Mr Trump before a cheering crowd of thousands at a rally in Jackson on Wednesday.

He partly based his Brexit drive on opposition to mass immigration to Britain that he said was leading to rapid change in his country. His appearance came as Mr Trump sought to moderate his own hardline stance against illegal immigration.

The tycoon summoned Mr Farage on stage in the middle of his rally, shook his hand and passed the microphone to him.

Mr Farage said he would not actually endorse Mr Trump because he did not want to repeat what he called President Barack Obama's meddling in British affairs when the latter urged Britons to vote to stay in the EU.

"I cannot possibly tell you how you should vote in this election. But you know I get it, I get it. I'm hearing you. But I will say this: If I were an American citizen, I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me," Mr Farage said.

"In fact, I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me," he added.

Mr Trump has sought to align himself with the Brexit movement, noting that he had said before the June 23 referendum that Britons should vote to leave.

He visited one of his golf courses in Scotland the day after the vote and boasted that he had predicted the outcome and called it a sign that his own campaign would be successful.

Mr Trump has since tumbled in national opinion polls and is fighting to remain competitive with Democratic rival Clinton, with little more than two months to go until the Nov 8 election.

A new analysis has shown that if the election were held today, Mrs Clinton would win the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, and have a 95 per cent chance of beating Mr Trump.

The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, which combines opinion polls with an analysis of voting patterns under different election scenarios, shows Mrs Clinton currently beating Mr Trump in the popular vote by six percentage points and ahead in 19 states, including most of the larger-population ones that heavily influence the outcome of the election.

At the moment, Mrs Clinton would win at least 268 votes in the Electoral College, the body that ultimately chooses the next president, just two shy of what she needs to win the White House.

Mr Trump would win at least 21 states, many of them with smaller populations, giving him a minimum of 179 electoral votes.

"Nov 8 is our chance to redeclare American independence," Mr Trump said at the rally, borrowing a phrase Mr Farage used during the Brexit campaign.

The latter drew parallels between the Brexit movement and the support Mr Trump has received from many Americans who feel left behind.

"They feel people aren't standing up for them and they have, in many cases, given up on the whole electoral process and I think you have a fantastic opportunity here with this campaign," Mr Farage said.

Mr Farage's appearance came as Mr Trump backed further away from his vow to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would not permit American citizenship for the undocumented population and would expel lawbreakers.

He said to qualify to remain in the United States, illegal immigrants would have to pay back taxes.

He told WPEC television station that he would announce something over the next two weeks.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'Brexit leader Farage lends support to Trump at rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe