Trump had been scheduled to visit Denmark on Sept. 2 and 3 as part of a European trip that includes a visit to Poland, but announced on Twitter he was canceling the Danish leg of the trip.
Trump’s tweets announcing his change in plans came after Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Monday called any conversation about buying Greenland “an absurd discussion,” CNN reported. Trump then swung into action.
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump tweeted.
“The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct,” Trump added. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
….The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019
Others in Denmark were quick to condemn Trump.
Martin Lidegaard, a former foreign minister, called it “a diplomatic farce,” referred to Trump’s actions as “grotesque” and claimed the president was “throwing a hissy fit.”
So the POTUS has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland @BBCRadio4 Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.
— Helle Thorning S (@HelleThorning_S) August 21, 2019
Trump’s change in plans was “deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark,” former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt tweeted.
Claus Oxfeldt, chairman of Denmark’s main police union, said the cancellation stung.
“As far as I know, it has created great frustrations to have spent so much time preparing for a visit that is canceled,” Oxfeldt said.
Not everyone was bashing Trump, however.
Kristian Søby Kristensen, a senior researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s department of political science, said Frederiksen’s next step should be taken with care because the U.S. is a vital NATO ally.
The U.S. “is — without comparison — Denmark’s most important ally when it comes to security policy, so it would be a very serious situation” if she offended the U.S. with her comment, Kristensen said, according to Politico.
After media accounts last week indicated the U.S. was informally looking at the acquisition of Greenland, Trump was asked about it Sunday, according to a White House medial pool report, and indicated it was a concept being explored.
“Well, Greenland, I don’t know — it got released somehow. It’s just something we talked about. Denmark essentially owns it,” he said.
“We’re very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly, I’d be. Strategically, it’s interesting, and we’d be interested. But we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that.”
When asked if the U.S. might swap land to gain all or part of Greenland, Trump referred to the concept as “essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done.”
“It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss. And, strategically, for the United States, it would be nice. And we’re a big ally of Denmark, and we help Denmark and we protect Denmark, and we will,” Trump said Sunday.
“In fact, I’m supposed to stop. I’m thinking about going there. I’m not necessarily definitely going there, but I may be going. We’re going to Poland and then we may be going to Denmark — not for this reason at all. But we’re looking at it. It’s not number one on the burner.”
Greenland is governed as a largely autonomous part of Denmark. The island’s strategic location led the U.S. to develop Thule Air Force Base in the 1950s as a refueling location for long-range bombers.
The northern Greenland site is now a ballistic missile base, according to the AP. Other air bases developed by the U.S. during the Cold War have been converted into civilian airfields. The concept of the U.S. buying Greenland was floated in 1947, but never moved forward.
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