US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said it is a “great thing” that the people of the UK have “taken back their country” in voting to leave the EU.
His comments came as he arrived at Trump Turnberry for the reopening of the refurbished Open venue golf resort.
Mr Trump added his name to the Ayrshire hotel and golf course after buying the resort for an undisclosed fee in 2014.
Protests are expected against the presumptive Republican nominee by those who accuse him of “racism and bigotry”.
Mr Trump was asked about the EU referendum result, which saw Leave beat Remain by 52% to 48%, shortly after arrived at Turnberry by helicopter.
The US billionaire answered: said: “I think it’s a great thing that’s happened. It’s an amazing vote, very historic.
“People are angry all over the world. They’re angry over borders, they’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even knows who they are.
“They’re angry about many, many things in the UK, the US and many other places. This will not be the last.”
Mr Trump said UK divisions “will heal” as “it is a great place”, adding: “I said this was going to happen and I think it is a great thing.
“Basically, they took back their country. That’s a great thing.
“I think we’re doing very well in the United States also, and it is essentially the same thing that is happening in the United States.
“I want to support my son who really represented me here in building this great great place (Turnberry).”
When asked his opinion on David Cameron announcing he is to step down as Prime Minister after the Leave vote, Mr Trump said: “Well, that’s too bad.”
The outspoken billionaire has been a controversial figure during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, most notably calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US following the San Bernardino shootings in California
This prompted a petition advocating a ban on Mr Trump coming to the UK, which attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures. This in turn triggered a debate at a Westminster committee room, which ended without a vote being taken.
Mr Trump’s comments on Muslims were described as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong” by Prime Minister David Cameron and “repugnant and offensive” by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Earlier this week, two local residents began flying Mexican flags on properties surrounding Mr Trump’s other Scottish golf course in Aberdeenshire.
They said they wanted to “show solidarity” with the people of Mexico after Mr Trump outlined plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants.
‘Message of hate’
Hundreds of protesters were expected to gather outside Turnberry during Mr Trump’s visit.
The “Stand Up To Trump” is supported by a number of organisations, including Stand Up to Racism Scotland, the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Unite the Union Scotland.
Keir McKechnie, spokesman for Stand Up to Racism Scotland, said: “His message of hate is one that we’ll challenge and we would not encourage anyone to support him in his presidency.
“Although this protest happens to be taking place in Scotland, we want to represent people across the whole of the UK and beyond who reject Trump’s racism and Islamophobia.”
Mr Trump’s comments about the referendum, and the protest against him, may overshadow the official reopening of the Trump Turnberry resort – his second golf venue in Scotland.
The US property billionaire’s business links with Scotland began a decade ago as he promised to create a legacy to his mother Mary MacLeod, who was born in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
Mr Trump owns more than a dozen golf resorts in the US and opened his first in the UK, at the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire, in 2012 after controversy surrounding planning, environmental issues and clashes with local people who refused to move.
He acquired the Turnberry resort from Dubai-based Leisurecorp two years ago before adding his name to the brand as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment.
Turnberry is one of 10 UK golf courses to host the Open golf championship on a rotational basis.
The tournament has been played there on four occasions, most recently in 2009.
The Open is expected to be played in England in 2020 and at St Andrews in 2021, meaning the earliest it could return to Turnberry would be 2022.