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FactCheck: Did Donald Trump predict Brexit at his Scottish golf course the day before the vote?

He repeated the claim in his Oval Office meeting with the Taoiseach. Is it true?

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DONALD TRUMP LAST week repeated his assertion that he correctly predicted the result of the Brexit referendum a day before the vote on a 2016 visit to Scotland. 

Speaking alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the White House, Trump told reporters that he correctly predicted the result during a press conference at his Turnberry golf course on Scotland’s west coast. 

Various journalists took to Twitter to take issue with Trump’s comments, stating that he couldn’t have made the prediction from the golf course a day ahead of the referendum as he didn’t arrive there until the day after the vote. 

Is Trump’s claim true? Let’s take a look. 

What Trump said 

Hosting Leo Varadkar for the traditional St Patrick’s visit to Washington, Trump answered various questions on issues of the day including Brexit. 

This was on Thursday 14 March – two days after the withdrawal agreement had been rejected yet again by the House of Commons and hours before another major vote on extending Article 50. 

In comments to one reporter, Trump said: 

“It wasn’t that I was a supporter I predicted it was going to happen and I was right. And people laughed when I predicted it. 

I was standing out on Turnberry and we had a press conference and people were screaming. That was the day before if you remember. I think you were there. And people were screaming and I said ‘no I think it’s going to happen’. And people were surprised I made the prediction because President Obama made the opposite prediction. And I was right. 

Our political correspondent Christina Finn, who was at the Oval Office event, captured the footage below of Trump making the remarks: 

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

It’s not the first time he’s made the claim. Speaking in July of last year he also said he was “opening Turnberry the day before Brexit”, adding: 

And all they wanted to talk about was Brexit and they asked for my opinion and I think you will agree that I said I think Brexit will happen. And it did happen. And then we cut the ribbon.

The claim 

Specifically we’re looking into Trump’s claim that he correctly predicted the Brexit result during a press conference at his Turnberry golf club in Scotland the day before the vote (so, specifically, on 22 June 2016). 

Supporting material 

As part of our factchecking process here at TheJournal.ie we always contact the person or organisation making the claims that are being examined. 

Without much hope of a response we emailed both the White House press office and the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign asking for links to any footage or press coverage of Trump making these claims at Turnberry on 22 June 2016. 

We also asked if the President stood by his remarks. 

We haven’t received a response. 

Searching for comments that might back up this claim from anyone connected to either the Trump 2016 campaign or the current administration we came across this tweet from First Lady Melania Trump’s Director of Communications (below) in July 2018 when he made an almost identical claim. 

However, Stephanie Grisham claims that Trump made the comments on 23 June (which was the actual day of the vote). 

So are his comments true? 

Remember we’re factchecking Trump’s claim that he correctly predicted the Brexit result during a press conference at his Turnberry golf club in Scotland the day before the vote (so, specifically, on Wednesday 22 June 2016). 

News coverage of the Trump campaign from Wednesday 22 June shows he was in New York for events including a major speech in which he branded rival Hillary Clinton a ‘world class liar’, citing her previous claims about arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire (which, as an aside, Clinton was forced to admit she exaggerated during the 2008 campaign).

A full transcript of the speech was posted online by Politico here. It contains no mention of the Brexit vote.

A Google News search for the terms ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’ for that date did not generate any results covering comments by Trump on that subject at other events that day. 

Source: CNN/YouTube

Trump’s visit to Turnberry took place on 24 June, the day after the vote, as multiple news reports and tweets from outlets who had reporters present show. 

Here’s the BBC’s report. Here’s one from ABC News. Here’s TheJournal.ie’s main report on his cliff-side press conference at Turnberry. 

Below is a tweet from our assistant news editor (and author of this FactCheck) who was also there. 

According to our tweets from the day Trump landed at the course at 8.13am on the morning of 24 June, shortly after David Cameron had announced his resignation and long after the result of the vote had become clear. 

The official campaign schedule (below) shows he was due to leave New York on 23 June, the day of the referendum, en route to Prestwick Airport. You may recall he had also been expected to stop off in Ireland but that leg of the route was called off. 

He made a number of comments about Brexit at the Turnberry press conference (where he did, indeed, cut a ribbon) including hailing the result as “fantastic”.

travel1 Source: Trump campaign

Verdict

Trump claimed he predicted the Brexit result at Turnberry the day before the referendum. 

He didn’t arrive in Turnberry until the day after the referendum. As the result was clear at that stage, it obviously would have been impossible to predict it. 

We rate his claim as: FALSE

As per our verdict guide, this means the claim is inaccurate. 

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

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