Sen. Ben Cardin said he isn’t pleased with Great Britain’s referendum vote to exit the European Union, but he expressed hope it doesn’t hurt America’s relationship with Britain or the EU.
Cardin, the junior Maryland senator and ranking member on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, told C4 Friday he was in London earlier this month and spoke with counterparts there. The government, with the exception of some members in Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet, was officially against a so-called Brexit.
“This is a huge vote. It’s up to the Brits,” Cardin said. “We certainly respect the outcome of the referendum. It’s their choice. I’m disappointed. I’d like to see a united, strong Europe as our ally.”
Cameron announced his plans to resign after the referendum’s result became clear. Cardin also acknowledged other consequences. Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which voted largely to stay in the EU, could vote for independence or, in the latter case, reunification. Other countries in the soon-to-be 27-member bloc, like France. could seek to change their relationship with Brussels.
“They might try to strike an agreement similar to what Britain did if they would have remained,” Cardin said.
Regardless, he said Britain and the EU will remain strong partners with the US.
Cardin also talked about House Democrats’ sit-in protest this week on gun legislation. He acknowledged that the proposals being put forward, which included universal background checks and tying the no-fly list into gun purchases, weren’t perfect and would not necessarily stop every shooting from happening.
“There’s no simple way we’re going to be able to deal with the violence that you saw in Orlando or too many cities around our nation,” Cardin said.
He said that both the no-fly list measure and closing the so-called gun show loophole are broadly popular measures, a statement a recent Gallup poll supports.
However, Cardin‘s proposals were questioned by Andrew Langer, president of The Institute of Liberty, who was also in studio. He said the no-fly list is itself problematic, and precluding a gun purchase without due process is unacceptable. C4 noted that even Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who spearheaded the sit-in, was himself once on the no-fly list.