Top Danish Official Disses Trump, Then Is Shocked When He Cancels Planned Trip There
When President Trump floated the idea that the United States might be interested in buying Greenland from Denmark, top Danish officials blasted him.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen ridiculed the notion, saying it was “absurd.”
“It’s an absurd discussion, and [Greenland Premier] Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That’s where the conversation ends,” she said.
“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States,” Frederiksen said. “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” Frederiksen told newspaper Sermitsiaq.
Of course, U.S. presidents have sought to buy the strategic island in the past. In 1946, the U.S. offered to pay Denmark $100 million to purchase Greenland. That deal fell through, but Denmark in 1951 allowed the U.S. to build military bases and radar stations on Greenland. The U.S. Air Force still has a base in northern Greenland.
After he was ridiculed, Trump felt disrespected and promptly canceled his upcoming trip to Denmark. But he also praised the prime minister for being frank, saying his visit was mostly to discuss the notion of buying Greenland.
“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 wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “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!”
….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
But that made the great Danes even more angry.
Frederiksen said Trump’s decision left her “disappointed and surprised.”
“I’d like to say that I am, of course, both disappointed and surprised that the American president has cancelled his state visit,” Frederiksen told press in Copenhagen on Wednesday afternoon. “Like many others, I was looking forward to the visit. We were full speed ahead with preparations.”
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish prime minister, also weighed in, writing on Twitter that Trump’s cancellation was “deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.”
Queen Margrethe II, who had extended the Sept. 2 invitation to Trump, also found the president’s decision “came as a surprise.”
“That’s all we have to say about that,” the Royal House’s communications director said in a TV interview.
The Danish royal house’s staff had canceled summer vacation to prepare for the presidential visit, and one newspaper said food and drink had already been ordered for a state dinner hosted by the Queen.
“Danish national daily Berlingske’s political commentator Thomas Larsen has also given his views on the controversial decision,” the U.K.’s Express newspaper reported.
He said: “It’s an unheard of situation. You almost lack words. No one is behaving like this on the international scene and certainly not an American president.
“This is an insult of the highest weight. A state visit usually helps confirm a friendship, a relationship and an alliance between two countries.
“But I think the royal house and the State Department are aware that it is a special gentleman sitting in the White House these days.”
“But that he cancels for this reason, I don’t thing anyone could have imagined. I think people are paralysed.”