Donald Trump splashed cold water Saturday on renewed calls by U.S. secessionists for Texas to break away from America in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
“Texas will never do that, because Texas loves me,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told reporters, while touring his golf resorts in Scotland.
So-called Texas nationalists, who for years have waged a quixotic campaign to secede, swiftly seized on Thursday’s Brexit decision to demand a similar referendum, only on Texas “independence.” In the spirit of the vote, supporters like Texas Nationalist Movement leader Daniel Miller called for “Texit” -- a hashtag trending Friday on Twitter.
However, even as Britain’s vote to leave the E.U. raises the prospect of similar referendums across Europe, the push for Texas or any other state to break away from the U.S. stands little chance of succeeding. While Trump says the U.K. vote exposed an anger in the electorate that will rear its head elsewhere, he indicated he does not think that extends to any secession movement inside the United States – especially if he’s in the White House.
“Texas would never do that if I’m president,” Trump said, adding the same goes for Vermont when asked about a secessionist movement there.
Trump’s comments mark a rebuke from the candidate who has drawn explicit parallels between the anti-establishment sentiments that fueled the Brexit decision and those fueling his campaign on this side of the pond.
The secessionists have long faced setbacks at every level of government.
The White House, in response to a petition, said three years ago that Texas simply cannot leave the union.
The Texas Tribune, in an analysis Friday, also said that while Texas could potentially split into separate states it could not legally secede. The Tribune quoted the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who once wrote in a letter, “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”
Nevertheless, Miller issued a statement Friday urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to call a referendum.
“The win for Brexit opens the door for Texit by establishing, concretely, that it is possible to have an adult conversation on independence and letting the people have the final say,” he said.
After winning independence from Mexico in 1836, Texas was its own republic until 1845, when it joined the U.S. Secession advocates argue the second-most populous state in the country is burdened by the federal government and has a large-enough economy to survive on its own.