Amid Greenland Sale Controversy, Denmark is Expecting a Visit From Trump. But Is He Coming?
President Donald Trump indicated before a planned trip to Copenhagen that he wanted to buy Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The government in the Danish capital told him the world’s biggest island isn’t for sale, and the state visit is now in doubt.
Trump has been invited by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for a state visit due to take place on Sept. 2-3. The office of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has confirmed the planned trip, and says the necessary preparations for an official presidential visit are being putting in place.
But over the weekend, Trump told reporters that it’s not certain he’ll be making the trip. Meanwhile, Frederiksen says she’s “operating under the assumption that there will be a visit by the American president,” according to comments broadcast by TV2 News on Sunday. “And we’re making preparations for it.”
The confusion prompted one prominent opposition member of the Danish parliament to refer to Trump’s non-committal attitude as an affront to Denmark’s Queen.
The uncertainty surrounding Trump’s first state visit to Denmark—a founding NATO member and a U.S. ally during the Iraq war— comes amid dismay in Greenland and Copenhagen after Trump expressed his apparent interest in purchasing the world’s largest island. Trump told reporters that buying Greenland would be “a large real estate deal” that could ease a financial burden on Denmark.
Speaking in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, Frederiksen said that “of course” the island is “not for sale. And I can’t sell Greenland. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic.”
But from the U.S. perspective, Trump said that “strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit,” in comments made on Sunday as he left New Jersey for Washington after spending more than a week at his golf course. He also said a deal is “not No. 1 on the burner.”
Trump said that Denmark loses almost $700 million a year on Greenland, which has a population of about 56,000.
“It’s hurting Denmark very badly,” he said. The Danish state pays an annual subsidy of about $500 million to Greenland, which has a gross domestic product of roughly $2.7 billion.
“Essentially it’s a large real estate deal,” Trump said. “A lot of things can be done.”
Denmark has been adamant in its rejection of a sale since reports emerged last week that Trump had directed advisers and lawyers to review a possible deal.
Frederiksen said, “I keep trying to hope that this isn’t something that was seriously meant,” according to local newspaper Sermitsiaq.
Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, said earlier on Sunday that Greenland is a “strategic place” rich in valuable minerals and that discussions are continuing.
“The president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a potential Greenland purchase,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.”
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