Trump cancels Danish visit after Greenland snub
Donald Trump says he has cancelled a visit to Denmark after the Danish prime minister said Greenland was not for sale, calling the idea “absurd”.
Trump tweeted that Denmark was “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.”
He thanked Frederiksen for avoiding “a great deal of expense for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct”.
Greenland is rich in natural resources like coal, zinc, copper and iron ore but it relies on Denmark for two-thirds of its budget revenue.
The tycoon turned populist said that adding Greenland to his property acquisitions was not a policy priority.
“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,” Trump told the media at the weekend.
When asked if he would consider trading a US territory for Greenland, Trump said: “Well, a lot of things could be done.”
Trump asked aides to study the idea of buying Greenland, a self-governing Danish overseas territory.
He said it was just “a large real estate deal” and “it’s something we’ve talked about”. He argued that the world’s largest island, which is financially reliant on Copenhagen, was a burden for the Danish taxpayer and he found it “strategically interesting”. Greenland has high rates of suicide, alcoholism and unemployment.
He tweeted a digitally altered photo of a golden Trump Tower in a village with the caption: “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” A cynic might say that, in reality, he would have the village bulldozed first.
The US offered Denmark US$100 million to buy Greenland in 1946 after a land swap with Alaska was rejected. Washington subsequently agreed to maintain the Thule air force base (pictured) in northern Greenland, which was designed as a refuelling station for long-range aircraft.
Trump was due to arrive in Denmark on September 2 at the invitation of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.
Reactions to Trump’s suggestion in Denmark and Greenland were generally incredulous, with people calling it “crazy” and “patronising”.
“Greenland is not for sale,” Frederiksen said this week. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
Frederiksen, who has been visiting Greenland’s premier, Kim Kielsen, said Trump was confused about the giant island’s sovereignty.
Greenland could not be sold because it does not belong to Denmark, she stated.
“Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic,” she said.
Former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted that the suggestion was probably an “April Fool’s Day joke”.
Thule air force base in Greenland. Picture credit: Wikimedia