Aug 21, 2019

Danes disgusted after Trump cancels visit over Greenland

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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Trump cancels Denmark visit over PM's Greenland comments

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump responded to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen‘s message to the United States that Greenland is not for sale by tweeting Tuesday evening that he's postponing their scheduled meeting. A White House spokesman later clarified that the president's entire trip to Denmark had been canceled, per AP.

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Tom Cotton defends Trump's idea to buy Greenland

Sen. Tom Cotton. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Why it matters: Cotton cites China's interest in the island, especially given its proximity to North America and the Arctic, as reason that the U.S. should make a play for it. Greenland's abundance of rare-earth minerals — integral to high-tech manufacturing — also makes it attractive to China, which currently dominates the world market for such materials.

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Netanyahu gives public blessing to potential Trump-Iran meeting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to the press as he meets with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

LONDON — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a briefing with reporters Thursday that he does not rule out a meeting between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the near future, stressing that he has full confidence in Trump’s negotiation positions.

Why it matters: This was the first time Netanyahu has spoken publicly about the possibility of direct talks between the Trump administration and the Iranian regime. Netanyahu was very concerned about a possible meeting between Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the G7 summit in France last week, and frantically tried to get Trump on the phone to stop the two leaders from meeting.

Go deeperArrowSep 5, 2019