President Trump on Tuesday abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, saying there was no point to the trip after Frederiksen called the idea that the U.S. might buy Greenland from Denmark “absurd” — and insisted there would be no Copen-haggling about it.
Trump had been expected to visit Denmark on Sept. 2-3 as part of his trip to Europe, but until his tweets Tuesday, there were no solid indications the visit to Denmark was centered on 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.
“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,” he added. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
The White House later clarified that the entire trip to Denmark had been scrapped, including a planned meeting with the Queen of Denmark.
Commentators immediately reacted with surprise, saying they were under the impression the visit to Denmark would involve other topics of conversation.
“Breaking my vacation Twitter hiatus to say that I am amazed the purpose of the Denmark trip was actually to purchase Greenland,” wrote Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim.
“Art of the arctic deal?” joked another Washington Post reporter, Josh Dawsey.
Even the U.S. ambassador to Denmark was caught flat-footed. Just hours before Trump’s pullout, Ambassador Carla Sands tweeted, “Denmark is ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported last week Trump was interested in buying Greenland, a semi-autonomous territory under Danish control with a population of approximately 56,000.
According to the paper, Trump asked his advisers about acquiring the island during “meetings, dinners and passing conversations” because of Greenland’s “abundant resources and geopolitical importance.”
The U.S. made a somewhat similar effort to buy Greenland in 1947, albeit without the razzle-dazzle of social media.
The idea led some left-wing commentators to mock the White House, but most found humor in the moment — and, in something of a fourth-wall-breaking moment, Trump himself appeared to join in on Monday, tweeting a meme originally credited to Ricochet editor-in-chief Jon Gabriel.
The meme depicted a lavish Trump skyscraper looming over a mostly empty village in Greenland.
The president captioned the image, “I promise not to do this to Greenland!”
But, Greenland is not on the market in any event, Frederiksen said.
“Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant,” Frederiksen told reporters Sunday during a trip to meet Kim Kielsen, the premier of Greenland
Speaking to reporters in New Jersey this past Sunday, Trump compared the proposal to “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,” he said. “So, they carry it at 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.”
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At the same time, Trump said buying Greenland was not a top priority for him or his administration.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.