Donald Trump cancels Denmark trip over Greenland rebuke

The US President has said he cancelled his trip to Denmark because the country’s prime minister...

17.20 21 Aug 2019

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Donald Trump cancels Denmark t...

Donald Trump cancels Denmark trip over Greenland rebuke


17.20 21 Aug 2019

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The US President has said he cancelled his trip to Denmark because the country’s prime minister was “nasty” to him over his plan to purchase Greenland.

Donald Trump said his move to buy the world's biggest island was “just an idea” and said it was “not nice” of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to dismiss it out of hand.

After it reported that he had repeatedly asked his aides to look into whether it would be possible to do a deal, politicians in Denmark and Greenland reacted with varying degrees of amusement and shock.


After he began talking about it publicly, Ms Frederiksen called it an “absurd discussion.”

President Trump then tweeted that he was postponing his planned visit to the Scandinavian state ‘based on her comments.’

Speaking as he left the White House for Kentucky this evening, he said: “I thought that the Prime Minister’s statement that is was absurd; that is was an absurd idea was nasty.”

“I thought it was an inappropriate statement,” he said.

“All she had to do was say, no we wouldn’t be interested. I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something.”

He claimed that when Ms Frederiksen speaks about him she is in fact speaking to the entire US.

“She’s not talking to me,” he said. “She is talking to the United States of America.

“You don’t talk to the United States that way.”

GreenlandDanish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen pictured in Berlin on July 11th, 2019 | Image: Pacific Press/SIPA USA/PA Images

After he cancelled the visit, Ms Frederiksen said she received the news with "regret and surprise" - noting that preparations for the state visit were well underway.

She said: "This does not change the character of our good relations.

"We will of course continue our ongoing dialogue with the US on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing."

She reiterated that the proposal to buy Greenland had been "clearly rejected".

'Absurd discussion'

Ms Frederiksen had earlier called the US leader's musing about buying the Danish territory "an absurd discussion" after he began talking up the idea.

Mr Trump even joked about his proposal as it came in for ridicule, tweeting a doctored photo of a Trump skyscraper looming over a small village in the Arctic territory.

"I promise not to do this to Greenland", he joked on Monday.


President Trump continued his attacks in two tweets this evening, taking aim at Denmark over its contribution to NATO.

"For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending,” he wrote.

"They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%.

"We protect Europe and yet, only eight of the 28% countries are at the 2% mark."

A few hours before President Trump cancelled the visit, the US ambassador to Denmark tweeted that it was "ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit!"

Mr Trump tweeted: "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."

He added: "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!"

White House spokesman Judd Deere later said that the visit to Denmark had been cancelled.

The White House announced in late July that Mr Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Denmark's Queen Margrethe and participate in a series of meetings - including with Ms Frederiksen and business leaders.

The trip was set to begin at the end of August and include a stop in Poland to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.

Mr Trump is expected to go ahead with the Warsaw visit.

Asked about his interest in buying Greenland on Sunday, Mr Trump said "strategically… it would be nice" to own the island.

His interest in the Danish territory emerged last week when he reportedly discussed it in a private meeting with advisers.

Danish politicians poured scorn on the idea, with the country's former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen describing it as an "April Fool's Day joke".

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