Aug 21, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Danes disgusted after Trump cancels visit over Greenland

Pic stitch of Donald Trump and Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen

President Trump and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's decision to cancel his state trip to Denmark after being told that Greenland is not for sale has caused a mix of anger and confusion among current and former Danish politicians.

The state of play: The president's decision "came as a surprise," the Royal House's communications director told Denmark's public broadcaster DR. "That's all we have to say about that."

What they're saying: Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was more explicit in her criticism: "Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark."

  • Martin Lidegaard, the head of the Danish Parliament's foreign affairs committee, told the Washington Post that he hoped Danes would not take this "quite absurd" episode too seriously. "[W]e should not let Trump impact Danish-U.S. relations in a negative way."
  • Former Finance Minister Kristian Jensen tweeted: "This has gone from a great opportunity for a strengthened dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis."
  • Former Minister of Business and Financial Affairs Rasmus Jarlov tweeted, "As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe. 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."
  • Pernille Skipper, a left-wing Danish politician, tweeted that "Trump lives on another planet. Self-sufficient and disrespectful."
  • Søren Espersen, the foreign affairs spokesman for the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party, told Danish newspaper Politiken that Trump’s behavior reminded him of "a spoiled child."

Context: Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Danish media Sunday that President Trump's reported desire to purchase Greenland is an "an absurd discussion" and that the territory is not for sale, per Reuters.

  • That prompted Trump to announce on Twitter he would be "postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time" because Frederiksen had been "so direct."
  • The president had previously accepted an invitation to meet with Denmark's Queen Margrethe II as part of a larger state visit.

Go deeper: The great game comes to Greenland

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