President Obama on Friday sought to reaffirm the United States’s “special relationship” with the United Kingdom after its stunning vote to leave the European Union.
Obama also lauded the EU for its efforts to “promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond.”
The president stressedthat both the U.K. and the EU “will remain indispensable partners,” even as they begin to negotiate their formal separation in the coming months.
The president also plans to speak on Friday with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would resign in the wake of the vote.
The referendum is a major blow to both leaders, who urged British citizens to vote to remain in the 28-nation political and economic partnership.
During a visit to London in April, Obama took the unusual step of lobbying U.K. voters on the so-called Brexit vote.
He warned that Britain would be put at “back of the queue” for new trade deal with the U.S. if the country voted to leave the EU.
“It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we were able to actually get something done,” Obama told the BBC. “The U.K. would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU.”
Obama’s actions have drawn criticism from Republicans, who accused him of meddling in another country’s affairs.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who sided with those wanting to leave, mocked the president for jumping into the debate.
“The world doesn’t listen to him,” Trump said during a trip to Scotland to promote a reopening of one of his golf courses.
He said the president’s push for the “remain” vote “perhaps caused it to fail.”
Updated at 10 a.m.
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