One of the most influential figures behind the United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union, widely referred to as ‘Brexit,’ is set to coach Donald Trump before the next presidential debate.
Nigel Farage led the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), an anti-Europe and far right wing party, until he stepped down less than two weeks after the Brexit vote. Farage was widely criticized after backtracking on his claims that £350 million ($454,247,500) paid to the European Union would be used on the national health services after Brexit.
Though UKIP denies the reports that Farage has flown to the United States to help Donald Trump prepare, other UKIP sources confirmed to the Guardian that he plans to help Trump in some way before the election.
“Politics aside, Farage is considered a skilled orator and debater. In the days leading up to the June EU referendum vote, the then prime minister, David Cameron, refused to debate with him, agreeing only to appear on the same program,” the Guardian reported. “And following a one-on-one televised clash with former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on the issue of Europe, polls suggested viewers were swayed by Farage.”
Trump seemed to struggle in the first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton. He often rambled and lost his composure. He later claimed the debate was rigged and that there were issues with his microphone.
“Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall,” the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement.
Trump said he “spent 50% of my thought process” dealing with the sound issue. His opponent, Clinton, responded, telling reporters, “Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.”
Much like Trump, Farage is a right wing populist with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, though he did say Trump’s call for a total Muslim ban was a “political mistake too far.” Something else he shares with Trump is his propensity for making shocking statements. As the Guardian reported on Saturday, “in debates, speeches and radio station appearances, the former Ukip leader has called for immigrants with HIV to be banned from Britain, said he would be concerned if his neighbours were Romanian, suggested breastfeeding mothers should ‘sit in a corner,’ and said women were paid less because they were simply ‘worth far less.’”
The two leaders seem to share a good rapport, as Farage stood side by side with Trump at a rally in Mississippi in August. Farage called Trump “the new Ronald Reagan” at the time — a statement with which many Republicans would surely disagree.
They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016
“It is worth remembering that virtually everyone thought that Ronald Reagan was unfit to be the U.S. president before he made a huge success of his two terms,” Farage wrote in an essay after the rally in Mississippi.
A spokesperson for Farage said he was currently in the U.K.
A spokesperson for Nigel Farage has told @BuzzFeedNews that Nigel's in the UK, following reports he'd flown to the US to debate-coach Trump
— Laura Silver (@laurafleur) October 1, 2016