Trump snubs Denmark over Greenland ‘no’
Donald Trump, the US president, has cancelled a state visit to Denmark over its refusal to consider selling Greenland, an autonomous country which is part of the Danish kingdom. Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, said she was “disappointed” by the decision.
DENMARK’S political leaders and royal family yesterday expressed shock after Donald Trump cancelled a state visit to the country over its refusal to consider selling Greenland.
Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, said she was “disappointed” by the decision, while a spokesman for the royal palace admitted it had been taken by “surprise”.
Less diplomatic responses came from former politicians and opposition figures who said the US president’s behaviour was “grotesque”, “smug” and “disrespectful”.
Helle Thorning-schmidt, the former Danish prime minister, wrote on Twitter: “Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting.”
The outpouring of frustration came after Mr Trump made clear that his interest in buying Greenland, an autonomous country which is part of the kingdom of Denmark, was not a joke.
On Monday, Mr Trump appeared to play up the comic aspect of his considerations, tweeting a picture of a vast gold Trump hotel, writing: “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” But on Tuesday he said that due to the flat-out rejection by Denmark he would be cancelling a trip on Sept 2-3, planned after an invitation by its royal family.
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Mette Frederiksen’s comments ... I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” he wrote. “The prime minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the US and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!” The remarks clearly indi- cated that the refusal to consider selling Greenland, a country with a population of 56,000 people, which is mainly covered by an ice sheet, was to blame for the cancellation.
Mr Trump had said over the weekend that Greenland’s strategic benefits – there is renewed geopolitical interest in the Arctic as its ice caps melt – and natural resources made it an alluring proposition.
Defending the cancellation yesterday, Mr Trump suggested that the way in which Ms Frederikse had rejected his proposal was to blame. “I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was an ‘absurd’ idea was nasty,” Mr Trump told reporters.
Ms Frederiksen, who earlier responded “Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over”, yesterday said: “It is with regret and surprise that I received the news that [he] has cancelled his visit.”
She added that preparations for the trip had been “well under way”, but “this does not change the character of our good relations”.