Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of being ‘nasty’ when she said his plan to buy Greenland was ‘absurd.’
The president told reporters on the South lawn her statement on the matter ‘was nasty’ during a 35-minute, free wheeling exchange that included his thoughts on gun background checks, Israel, the New York Times, China and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd – that it was an absurd idea – was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested,’ he said.
He repeatedly went back to her word ‘absurd’ when asked about American-Danish relations after officials refused to consider his offer to buy the world’s largest island – and complained Frederiksen could not treat the U.S. that way.
‘She shouldn’t treat the United States that way. She said absurd. That’s not the right word to use. Absurd,’ he said of Frederiksen’s reaction to but Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory.
‘I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested,’ he added.
‘I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something. They could have told me no,’ he said. ‘All they had to do is say, no, we would rather not do that or we would rather not talk about it. Don’t say what an absurd idea that is.’
He accused her of insulting the United States with her response.
‘She’s not talking to me,’ he said of Frederiksen. ‘She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way. At least under me.’
‘I thought it was not a nice statement – the way she blew me off,’ he added later. ‘We’ve done a lot for Denmark.’
Donald Trump accused the Danish prime minister of being ‘nasty’ when she said his plan to buy Greenland was ‘absurd’
Trump originally said Greenland was not the reason for his trip to Denmark
Trump also said he was not looking at purchasing land from other countries.
‘No,’ he said in response to a question from Dailymail.com. ‘Greenland was just an idea. Just a thought. But I think when they say it was absurd and it was said in a very nasty, very sarcastic way, I said we’ll make it some other time.’
‘I love Denmark. I’ve been to Denmark and, frankly, we’ll do it another time,’ he added. ‘Respect has to be shown to the United States.’
He also noted he was not the first president to bring up the idea of buying Greenland.
‘The prime minister used a terrible word when talking about something we’ve been talking about for years,’ he said.
‘This is something that has been discussed for many years. Harry Truman had the idea of Greenland. I had the idea. Other people have had the idea. It goes back into the early 1900s. But Harry Truman very strongly thought it was a good idea. I think it is a good idea because Denmark is losing $700 million a year with it. It doesn’t do them any good,’ he noted.
Additionally, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a close Trump ally on Capitol Hill, also is interested in purchasing Greenland.
Cotton raised the idea in August 2018 when Danish Ambassador Lone Dencker Wisborg dropped by his Senate office, The Atlantic reported. Cotton also discussed the idea with Trump – although no time frame was given for when that conversation took place.
After his angry rant at Frederiksen, Trump then took to Twitter to complain Denmark is not paying enough in its NATO fees.
Trump complained of the Danish prime minister’s calling his idea ‘absurd’ and said Frederiksen could not treat the U.S. that way
‘For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%. We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark. The United States is at a much, much higher level than that,’ he wrote.
‘Because of me, these countries have agreed to pay ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS more – but still way short of what they should pay for the incredible military protection provided. Sorry!,’ he added.
Denmark agreed to raise its NATO contribution to 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2023, up from 1.35 percent it will pay this year, Danish officials said in January.
The president has been vocal about his interest in obtaining Greenland but Frederiksen slammed his scouting efforts as ‘absurd’, saying the semi-autonomous island is not for sale.
The Danish prime minister also said she was ‘disappointed and surprised’ by Trump’s decision to cancel his upcoming state visit.
Snubbed in his purchase offer, Trump, a former real estate tycoon, decided to postpone his meeting with Frederiksen, which was scheduled to take place in two weeks, in a dramatic last-minute decision announced on Twitter Tuesday night.
Queen Margrethe II and the royal household on Wednesday expressed surprise at the sudden cancellation, while other prominent Danish politicians described it as ‘deeply insulting’.
Donald Trump has cancelled his upcoming meeting with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen because she refuses to talk about potentially selling Greenland
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen giving a statement Wednesday on President Trump’s cancellation of his state visit in Copenhagen
Queen Margrethe II (pictured) and the Danish royal family were ‘surprised’ at Trump’s sudden cancellation of his state visit
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish Prime Minister, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s cancellation was ‘deeply insulting’
Trump’s visit was originally seen as a thank you to the small northern European nation, which is a member of NATO and has supported the U.S. military missions in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
The country has seen 43 Danish troops members killed in those U.S.-led missions, which is a large number for a country of 5.5 million not used to participating in battle.
His cancellation has now sparked worries of a diplomatic row but Frederiksen argued it would not harm relations between Copenhagen and Washington.
Frederiksen, who took office two months ago as Denmark’s second female head of state and the leader of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party, said relations between Copenhagen and Washington ‘are not in any crisis in my opinion’ after Trump canceled his plans to visit Denmark following her rejection of the sale.
‘I don’t believe that the cancellation should have any influence on other matters,’ she said.
She also confirmed Wednesday that ‘a discussion about a potential sale of Greenland has been put forward.’
But she noted: ‘It has been rejected by Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen, and I fully stand behind that rejection’.
The prime minister said she was ‘disappointed and surprised’ by Trump’s decision to cancel his two-day stop in her country.
But she told reporters that ‘the invitation for a stronger strategic cooperation with the Americans in the Arctic is still open’.
Former Danish government ministers were quick to speak out, with ex-foreign minister and head of the foreign affairs committee in parliament, Martin Lidegaard, telling Trump to ‘please stop’.
He added to Danish broadcaster TV2 that it was ‘a diplomatic farce’ and added that Trump’s behavior was ‘grotesque’ and he was ‘throwing a hissy fit’.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish Prime Minister, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s cancellation was ‘deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark’.
The 811,000-square-mile island of icy terrain in the Atlantic inhabits about 56,000 people, and though it is technically in North American waters, the self-governing land is culturally European
Greenland premier Kim Kielsen rejected a tentative US bid to buy the island. Pictured is the town of Kulusuk in Greenland
Trump tweeted Tuesday evening that he would postpone the meeting, originally scheduled during his September 2 and 3 state visit, ‘for another time’ because Frederiksen said Greenland was not for sale
While another ex-finance minister, Kristian Jensen, went further describing it as ‘total chaos’ and adding: ‘This has gone from a great opportunity for a strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis.’
Lene Balleby, head of communications for the Danish royal family, said: ‘It [the cancellation] was a surprise – we have nothing more to say about this case.’
Frederiksen noted that preparations for the September 2 and 3 visit were ‘well underway’.
‘It is with regret and surprise that I received the news that President Trump has cancelled his state visit to Denmark on the second and third of September,’ she said.
‘I had been looking forward to the visit, our preparations were well underway. It was an opportunity, I think, to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US – who remains one of Denmark’s closest allies.
‘I was looking forward to having a dialogue on the many shared interests we have with the US.
‘Furthermore the development in the Arctic region called for further co-operation between the US, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark. And therefore I would like to underline our invitation for a stronger co-operation on Arctic affairs still stands.
Trump was prepared to take over Denmark’s annual $600 million subsidy to Greenland in perpetuity before he canceled his visit.
The president also had discussed giving Denmark a large one-time payment as well to help move the transaction along, senior administration officials told The Washington Post.
Greenland handles its own domestic affairs but Denmark covers its national security and foreign relations. The Danes also pay for 50 percent of the island’s budget in direct subsidies with additional spending on defense.
In total, Denmark spends about $740 million annually on Greenland.
The US embassy in Copenhagen after President Trump postponed a planned visit to Denmark
The Helheim glacier in Greenland. President Trump announced his decision to postpone an early September visit to Denmark by tweet
A boat navigating at night next to icebergs in eastern Greenland, the world’s biggest island, earlier this month
Frederiksen pointed out Greenland officials rejected the idea – a move she supported.
‘A discussion however has been raised about a potential sale of Greenland. This has clearly been rejected by Kim Kielsen, a position that I share of course,’ she said.
‘This does not change the character of our good relations and we will, of course, from Denmark continue an ongoing dialogue with the US on how we can develop our co-operation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing.’
Trump was invited by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II for a state visit in Copenhagen in early September, which would have followed a stop in Warsaw, Poland, where the president will take part in a series of ceremonies in honor of the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.
First lady Melania Trump was to have accompanied him and dinner with the Queen was on the agenda.
The president initially claimed the visit wouldn’t be about a Greenland purchase, his sudden cancellation has cast doubts on the intentions of his trip.
A senior official told DailyMail.com last week that Trump was visiting Denmark because he was invited and not to purchase Greenland.
The senior official said that reports on Trump’s interest in buying the property were being ‘overblown,’ and the president was not entirely serious pursuing the sale.
However, Trump’s tweets challenged that.
‘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….’ the president wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.
‘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. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!’ he added, digging at Frederiksen for spurning his interest in buying the island.
President Donald Trump has likened buying Greenland to ‘a large real estate deal’ after confirming interest in purchasing the world’s largest island from Denmark. It comes after Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Greenland was not for sale and the idea of selling it to the U.S. was absurd on Sunday
His cancellation came just three hours after the US ambassador to Denmark tweeted: ‘Denmark is ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend’ sharing a picture of a billboard emblazoned with Trump’s name
During the state visit he would have met with Prime Minister Frederiksen as well as Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen, and other Danish leaders.
He was due to discuss the Arctic in meetings in Copenhagen with Frederiksen, who took office in June.
His cancellation came just three hours after the US ambassador to Denmark tweeted: ‘Denmark is ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend’ sharing a picture of a billboard emblazoned with Trump’s name.
Timeline of Trump and Greenland
Trump was invited by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II for a state visit on September 2 and 3 during which he’d meet with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen
August 15: Reports surface that Trump is considering buying Greenland
August 16: Greenland’s government tweets ‘We are open for business, but we’re not for sale’
August 18: Frederiksen says ‘Greenland is not for sale’ and calls the purchase talks ‘absurd’
August 20: Trump cancels Denmark visit and talks with Frederiksen because she refused to talk about potential Greenland purchase
Trump started to express his interest in purchasing the island earlier this month, which he said would be a strategic move for its natural resources and because the U.S. military has operated for decades out of the Thule Air Base in Greenland, located between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
The northern-most U.S. base is part of the military’s global network of radars and other sensors to provide ballistic missile warning and space surveillance.
‘Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,’ Trump previously said.
Trump said Denmark loses almost $700 million a year on Greenland, which boasts a population of just 56,000.
But Frederiksen dismissed Trump’s real estate interests in the territory as ‘absurd’ on Sunday, reiterating that ‘Greenland is NOT for sale’.
‘Greenland is not for sale and U.S. President Donald Trump’s idea of buying the semi-autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic from Denmark is an absurd discussion,’ Denmark’s prime minister said.
‘Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant,’ she added.
A digital billboard displays a sign reading ‘TRUMP’ in Copenhagen, Denmark
Trump reportedly wanted to buy Greenland for its natural resources and for its strategic location for the U.S. military
Icebergs float behind the town of Kulusuk in Greenland this week
Greenland’s government on Friday also dismissed the idea it was for sale.
‘We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,’ Greenland’s foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters.
‘#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism. We’re open for business, not for sale,’ the official account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.
Interest in Greenland has grown as its ice sheet melts and more of its resources become available. The melting ice is also changing the availability of shipping routes in the Arctic. China and Russia have shown interest in the island.
A 2014 report from the Brookings Institute noted that Greenland’s mineral and energy resources – including iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare earth elements, uranium and oil – are becoming more accessible due to its ice sheeting melting.
Trump noted the country’s strategic benefits – it sits between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and is home to a U.S. Air Force base – in addition to its mineral resources.
Trump said Sunday that he would broach the subject of buying the island with Danish leaders during his state visit.
He told reporters, ‘we’re going to Poland and then we may be going to Denmark — not for this reason at all. But we’re looking at it.’
Greenland’s vast natural resources
The vast island of Greenland sits between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, has a population of 56,000 and has 80 per cent of its land mass covered by a 660,000 square-mile (1.7 million-square-kilometer) ice sheet.
The island’s natural resources, spread across a total of 811,000 square miles, could also be one of the key attractions for the president.
As the climate changes and the arctic caps melt, there has been widespread interest in what is thought to be a rich potential of mineral and energy resources – iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare-earth elements, uranium and oil.
A report in 2014 showed this map of areas of hydrocarbon development in Greenland. Hydrocarbon exploration is the search by geologists for deposits of substances such as petroleum and natural gas in the Earth
Research shows Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012.
Both warmer air and warmer water are eating away at Greenland, causing it to lose billions of tons of ice daily in the summer.
And while a team of scientists and engineers are only just dropping probes into the ice to help figure out which is the bigger cause, water or air, one thing is certain, less ice could make the ability to uncover sub-earth treasures more feasible.
With less ice, access to this rich pool of resource beneath the land could become easier – making Greenland a territorial interest for the global powers.
A 2014 report, titled: The Greenland Gold Rush: highlighted how climate change had made waters around the icy territory more accessible.
‘Only in recent years have exploration activities resumed as a result of global warming opening up parts of the Arctic, including areas in Greenland, along with dramatic increases in raw material demand and mineral prices in the mid-2000s.
It found within Greenland, the self-governing body is looking at a way of using these natural resources to help it rely less on foreign-aid and investment and become more economically and politically independent from Denmark.
Nations from Russia to China, the US, Canada and elsewhere are racing to stake as strong a claim as they can to Arctic lands, hoping they will yield future riches.
At the same time, scientists consider Greenland the canary in the coal mine for climate change and say its massive ice sheet has seen once of its biggest melts on record this summer, contributing to a global rise in sea levels.
Why would US want to purchase Greenland?
Greenland is 811,000-square-miles – roughly the size of Western Europe and the largest island in the world.
The Danish autonomous territory is located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, and has significant natural resources and geopolitical significance.
The US already maintains an airbase there – Thule Air Base, which is America’s northernmost base.
During the Cold War, Thule was a critical facility due to its location across the pole from the USSR.
The base’s secret construction, undertaken by an armada of 120 ships, has been compared in scale to the effort required to build the Panama Canal.
Greenland is believed by some geologists to have some of the world’s largest remaining oil resources.
China, perhaps eyeing these resources, has attempted to establish an economic foothold by financing three airports.
Last year the Pentagon managed to block China’s efforts.