TOBIAS SCHWARZ,NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
- President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he will be postponing a planned state visit to Denmark, after Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said he couldn't buy the autonomous Danish territory of Greenland.
- Danish lawmakers and citizens reacted with surprise and anger to Trump's canceled visit.
- Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to postpone the trip to Denmark, calling Frederiksen's comments in response to his desire to purchase Greenland "nasty".
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People in Denmark are stunned by President Donald Trump's sudden announcement to postpone a planned state visit to the country, after their prime minister said he couldn't buy Greenland, the autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic.
Trump, who was scheduled to visit Denmark in early September, broke the news on Twitter on Tuesday night, suggesting in his tweet that the cancellation was directly due to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen slighting his idea for the US to purchase Greenland.
Frederiksen acted measured at a Wednesday news conference, telling reporters she received the news about the visit "with regret and surprise," but emphasizing that Trump's split decision would not "change the character of our good relations."
But across the country, the mood was different: a headline in Berlingske, a conservative daily, read "the US and Denmark's relationship has never been this ice-cold. It will have wide-ranging consequences," The New York Times reported.
Politicians openly expressed their frustrations with the president.
"Is this some sort of joke?" former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt asked on Twitter. "Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark."
"The reality is stranger than fiction," added Morten Østergaard, leader of the center-left party Radikale Venstre, which is part of a ruling coalition with the Socialdemokratiet party. "It shows why, more than ever, we should regard E.U. countries as our closest allies. The man is unreliable."
From 'strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis'
Ritzau Scanpix/Linda Kastrup via REUTERS
Frederiksen was quick to respond, making clear that "Greenland is not for sale," and describing Trump's idea to buy the territory as "an absurd discussion."
"Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let's leave it there," she noted.
Apparently, Trump wasn't too happy with Frederiksen's response, even though she also made sure to emphasize the importance of a strong relationship between the two countries.
The cancellation can be seen as a rebuff to Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, who was scheduled to meet with and host the president and first lady. The Royal House's communications director expressed surprise by the decision.
"Total chaos," wrote Kristian Jensen, a member of parliament, on Twitter. "This has gone from a great opportunity for a strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis."
"As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe," concluded Rasmus Jarlov, a former business minister. "For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for. Please show more respect."
Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to postpone the trip to Denmark, calling Frederiksen's comments in response to his desire to purchase Greenland "nasty" and an "inappropriate statement."
"I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something," he told reporters outside of the White House. "All they had to do was say 'no, we'd rather not do that or we'd rather not talk about it.' Don't say what an absurd idea that is because she's not talking to me, she's talking to the United States of America. You don't talk to the United States that way, at least under me."
- Trump wants to buy Greenland. Only one-third of Americans would be willing to offer more than $12 for the island.
- Trump shared a meme promising he wouldn't put a Trump Tower on Greenland
- Trump wants to buy Greenland. It's not for sale, but it would be really expensive if it were.