Donald Trump celebrated the Brexit vote as a "great thing" on Friday — proof that the United Kingdom’s voters had "taken back their country" by abandoning the shackles of the European Union.
The reaction from Hillary Clinton’s campaign was more muted.
"We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made," said Clinton’s statement, released Friday morning. "Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America."
Like most global leaders, Clinton had expressed support for the "Remain" camp throughout the referendum. But she also noted the need for "calm, steady, experienced leadership" — trying to draw a clear contrast between herself and Trump — in the face of the global economic uncertainty Brexit caused:
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. It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down.
How the Brexit highlights the choice the US has to make
The Brexit vote could hurt Clinton by dragging down the global economy, an event that political scientists tend to believe would give a generic Republican presidential candidate a boost.
But Trump is not a generic Republican candidate. On Friday, he openly celebrated the upheaval following Brexit, calling it an opportunity for the UK to declare "their independence from the European Union" and "reassert control over their own politics, borders, and economy." He cited the Brexit vote as evidence of a hunger for anti-establishment, populist politics.
Clinton, in her statement, is making the case for her own candidacy by betting that people would rather see an experienced politician at the helm in uncertain times.
These dueling reactions also mirror how the candidates responded to the Orlando massacre: Trump by saying it reaffirmed his focus on the danger posed by immigration (even though the shooter was an American-born citizen), and Clinton by saying it reaffirmed the need for a steady hand at the wheel.
Voters will have to choose between these clearly competing visions.