Nigel Farage, the British politician who led the successful Brexit movement to withdraw from the European Union, cheered on an auditorium full of American conservative activists who helped inspire what he views as a similar “political revolution” in the United States with the election of President Donald Trump.
Farage, who campaigned with Trump during the election, said the message of sovereignty and nationalism that drove United Kingdom voters to choose Brexit last June mirrors the populist vision that has taken power in Washington.
“Since the election of Donald J. Trump, every time I come to America I am feeling a little more American,” Farage said during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, outside Washington Friday afternoon.
“When in years to come, the generations that follow us study the history of this period, there is one year that will stand out. That year is the year of 2016. Because in 2016 we witnessed the beginning of a global political revolution, and it’s one that is not going to stop.”
With elections scheduled for the Netherlands, France, Germany, and possibly Italy this year, Farage predicted that populist movements in those European countries would gain ground—and potentially take power. Farage suggested the political change could lead to the breakup of the European Union.
“This [movement] will roll out across the rest of the West,” Farage said, adding:
I don’t yet know whether the results in 2017 will be as dramatic as 2016. What I do know is even if challengers don’t get over the line, what they will do is shift the center of gravity of the entire debate. People across Europe are rejecting this form of supernational government. They are rejecting the idea of being governed by unelected old men in Brussels.
During the campaign, Trump expressed skepticism of the European Union, and his top political adviser, Stephen Bannon, has called himself an “economic nationalist” and is considered an intellectual force behind the president’s views.
But in a Thursday interview with Reuters, Trump announced support for the European Union as a governing body, saying, ‘I’m totally in favor of it.”
Farage, in his CPAC speech, credited Trump for fulfilling other parts of his campaign platform, such as withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Trump has vowed to pursue bilateral trade deals, including one with Britain, once Prime Minister Theresa May’s government completes the Brexit process.
“What I am seeing is something quite remarkable,” Farage said. “An elected leader [Trump] trying to put in place a platform for which he was elected.”
“I’ve always believed we should govern our own country, that we should be free to reach out and make our own deals with our real friends in the world,” Farage added. “Our real friends in the world speak English, have common law, and stand by us in times of crisis.”
Farage, who spoke admiringly of Trump and the movement that carried him to the White House, even adopted the American president’s rhetoric as he closed his speech with a fist pump.
“We’ve got to be clear we aren’t against anyone based on religion, or ethnicity, but we are for ourselves, we are for our countries, and we are for making our people safe,” Farage said.
“That is what we are for,” Farage said. “We are for our country, we are for our people, and we are winning.”
CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.