Trump makes it personal with Danish PM over Greenland, calling her statement 'nasty'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

A day after canceling his trip to Denmark over its refusal to sell Greenland to the United States, President Trump on Wednesday said he was deeply offended by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s response to the idea, which she called “absurd.”

“I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was an ‘absurd’ idea was nasty,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn. “I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do was say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested.’”

Trump spent several minutes airing his grievance with Frederiksen.

“I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something,” the president continued. “They could’ve told me no, this is something that has been discussed for many years.”

President Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Trump noted that the idea of the United States acquiring Greenland was raised previously under President Harry S. Truman.

“Harry Truman very strongly thought it was a good idea,” Trump continued. “I think it’s a good idea because Denmark is losing $700 million a year with it. It doesn’t do them any good. But 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.”

[Yahoo 360: The U.S. buying Greenland: Joke or genius?]

He used the occasion to take a gratuitous swipe at his predecessor, saying other nations “can’t treat the United States of America the way they treated us under President Obama.”

Trump continued to rail against Denmark on Twitter aboard Air Force One during a flight to Kentucky.

On Sunday, Trump confirmed multiple reports that he was interested in buying Greenland and had even gone as far as asking advisers to look into the matter.

“Strategically, it’s interesting,” he said. “And we would be interested, but we will talk with them a little bit.”

In a tweet, Greenland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the island was “open for business, not for sale.”

“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland,” Frederiksen told a Danish newspaper. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen addresses the media on Wednesday regarding President Trump's cancellation of his visit to Denmark. (Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen)

Trump had been invited to visit Denmark during a trip to Europe next month. He abruptly announced he would not be making the stop in a tweet on Tuesday night.

“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.

Frederiksen told reporters early Wednesday that she was “disappointed and surprised” by Trump’s sudden cancellation, but also said that “this does not change the character of our good relations.”

“We will, of course, from Denmark, continue our ongoing dialogue with the U.S. on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing,” she said.


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