President Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., on Sunday. Among the topics was Trump's interest in buying Greenland from Denmark.
President Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., on Sunday. Among the topics was Trump’s interest in buying Greenland from Denmark. [Patrick Semansky | AP]

Trump To Skip Visiting Denmark After Prime Minister Says Greenland ‘Not For Sale’

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Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

President Trump says he will put off a planned visit to Denmark after the country’s prime minister made it clear that she has no intention of selling Greenland to the U.S., calling the idea “absurd.”

In a Tuesday night tweet, the president said Denmark is “a very special country with incredible people,” but added that “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 said he would reschedule his visit and thanked Frederiksen for saving “a great deal of expense for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct.”

The responses from Greenland and Denmark have ranged from frustration to anger.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who served as Denmark’s first female prime minister from 2011 to 2015, expressed incredulity. “Is this some sort of joke?” she wrote on Twitter. “Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.”

Rasmus Jarlov, a member of Danish parliament, agreed that the cancellation was insulting, tweeting, “As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe… Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect.”

Morten Ostergaard, the leader of Denmark’s Social Liberal party, said Trump’s move “shows why, more than ever, we should consider the EU countries as our closest allies.” He added, “The man is incalculable.”

Greenlandic politician Aaja Chemnitz Larsen said Trump’s cancellation showed how important Greenland was, before she commended Denmark for rejecting “Circus Trump.”

Earlier this week, Trump confirmed a story first reported in The Wall Street Journal that he had asked aides to look into the idea of buying Greenland, a self-governing Danish overseas territory.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, he compared the idea to “a large real estate deal” and said “it’s something we’ve talked about.” He suggested that the island, which is financially reliant on Denmark, had become a burden for Copenhagen and that it was “strategically interesting” to the United States.

In a tweet on Monday, the president posted a digitally altered photo of a golden Trump Tower superimposed on a seaside village with the caption, “I promise not to do this to Greenland!”

Trump, who was invited to visit Denmark by Queen Margrethe II and was scheduled to arrive there on Sept. 2, had said Sunday that any visit to the Scandinavian country would not be for the purpose of discussing a Greenland deal, a claim he appeared to contradict by canceling the trip.

In Denmark and Greenland, reaction to the president’s suggestion ranged from a polite “no” to open derision.

“Greenland is not for sale,” Frederiksen said while on a trip to Greenland earlier this week. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”

Former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted incredulously that the idea must be an “April Fool’s Day joke.”

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