Britain’s vote to exit the European Union stunned the globe, which woke up Friday to uncertainty about how the historic decision will impact the country and its place in the world.
But U.S. politicians have vowed that the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom will remain unchanged as the ally nation extricates itself from its 40-year political and economic union.
President Barack Obama, who penned an oped in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in April urging voters to reaffirm their country’s place in the EU, said he respects the decision the people have made.
“The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy,” Obama said in a statement. “The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.”
Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. respects the decision made by British voters.
"I must say we had looked for a different outcome. We would have preferred a different outcome,” Biden said from a trip in Ireland, which will remain in the E.U. “But the United States has a long-standing friendship with the United Kingdom and that very special bond will endure.”
Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., echoed White House sentiments that the U.S. would remain close to the U.K. despite its decision.
“Today's referendum will not change our special relationship with the United Kingdom,” Corker said in a statement. “That close partnership will endure, and we will continue to work together to strengthen a robust trade relationship and to address our common security interests."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who spoke on Capitol Hill Friday to reveal a new Republican tax plan, indulged reporters who asked his thoughts on the vote. He indicated that the growing sentiment of isolationism in Britain and around Europe was related to similar movements seen in the U.S. this election season.
“As an American, we value the principle of sovereignty, self-determination, government by consent and limited government,” Ryan said. “These are very important principles and these principles are being expressed here at home and around the world so we clearly understand the thinking behind these principles.”
He too referenced the “special relationship” with England and said the country will remain an “indispensable ally …. No matter what. Period. End of story.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used her statement to emphasize the need for an experienced leader to guide the U.S. through the “economic uncertainty” following the Brexit vote.
“This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans’ pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests,” Clinton’s statement said. “It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lauded the British decision on a trip Friday to Scotland, saying he loved “to see people take their country back.”
"I think there are great similarities between happened here and my campaign," he said. "People want to see borders. They don't necessarily want people pouring into their country that they don't know who they are and where they come from."