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“You have a fantastic opportunity here”: Nigel Farage champions Donald Trump at a Mississippi rally

Reuters/Carlo Allegri
A meeting of minds.
By Marta Cooper
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

“Mr. Brexit” has joined forces with the original Mr. Brexit.

At a Republican rally in Jackson, Mississippi last night (Aug. 24), outgoing leader of the UK Independence Party and architect of Britain’s exit from the EU, Nigel Farage, shared the stage with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

No one has delighted in the similarities between the pair’s divisive, crusade-laden rhetoric to re-assert sovereignty and return their countries to greatness than Farage and Trump. This time, to an audience of thousands, both men acknowledged these parallels and highlighted the success of the Brexit vote as a rallying cry for Trump.

Before introducing Farage at the rally, Trump told his supporters:

On June 23, the people of Britain voted to declare their independence—which is what we’re also looking to do, folks— from their international government.
They voted to reclaim control over immigration, over economy, over government. Working people, and the great people of the UK, took control of their destiny. We will have one American nation, not divided. November 8 is our chance to re-declare American independence.

Farage, who told local Mississippi radio that the similarities between Brexit and the US election were “uncanny,” leaned on the themes of freedom and taking back control that were so often used in his campaign. At the rally, he told the crowd that “we made June 23 our independence day,” and in so doing “smashed the establishment”:

We reached those people who have been let down by global corporatism… Who have never voted in their lives but believed that by going out and voting for Brexit they could take back control of their country, take back control of their borders, and get back their pride and self-respect.

While he stopped short of explicitly endorsing Trump, Farage said he “wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me,” before bringing his message back to the success of the so-called “people’s army” in the UK:

The parallels are there, there are millions of ordinary Americans who have been let down, who have had a bad time, who feel the political class in Washington are detached from them… You have a fantastic opportunity here: You can beat the pollsters, you can beat the commentators, you can beat Washington and you’ll do it by doing what we did for Brexit in Britain—we had our own people’s army of ordinary citizens… Who convinced and inspired people to vote for change.

He told Trump supporters that if they wanted change, they’d better get their “walking boots on,” before pulling out the crowd-pleaser that “anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment.”

Of course, the pair aren’t in perfect alignment. Although Farage stoked anti-immigration sentiment during the Brexit campaign, he also balked at Trump’s brazen anti-Muslim discourse. Referencing Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, Farage said last month (paywall) that the “style” of his rhetoric “makes even me wince a little bit.”

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