No deal: Trump postpones Denmark trip after Danes won't sell him Greenland
President Donald Trump on Tuesday abruptly called off a trip to Denmark, announcing in a tweet that he was postponing the visit because the country's leader was not interested in selling him Greenland.
The move comes two days after Trump told reporters that owning Greenland "would be nice" for the United States from a strategic perspective.
Greenland is a self-governing country that is part of the kingdom of Denmark.
In his tweet, Trump said that while Denmark is "a very special country with incredible people," he is postponing his scheduled meeting with Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen based on her statement "that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland."
"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," Trump added. "I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!"
Over the weekend, Frederiksen had visited Greenland and told reporters there that Trump's idea of buying the island was "absurd."
Trump had been scheduled to visit Denmark in two weeks. He said Sunday that his visit was not related to his interest in Greenland.
"Not for this reason at all," he said.
But his Tuesday night tweets made clear that the central purpose of his trip had in fact been discussion of a U.S. purchase of the massive, glaciered island, which holds increasing strategic value as melting sea ice opens new parts of the Arctic to shipping and resource extraction.
Trump had also jokingly acknowledged his interest in purchasing the island for the United States on Monday, when he tweeted a doctored photo of a huge gold Trump Tower planted on what appears to be a Greenlandic fishing village.
"I promise not to do this to Greenland!" Trump wrote.
Greenlanders, many of whom chafe at Danish rule, reacted with scorn to word last week that Trump was keenly interested in making an offer.
Both Danish and Greenland officials have said in recent days that the island is not for sale.
"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," Greenland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday in a tweet. "We're open for business, not for sale."
Trump's interest, which was a closely held secret until last week, stems largely from the island's potential as a hedge against Chinese and Russian expansion in the Arctic.
He told reporters Sunday that owning Greenland is "hurting Denmark very badly" and that "they carry it at a great loss," although he did not immediately provide evidence to back up those claims.
Although many in the United States have mocked the idea, one Democratic lawmaker on Sunday voiced openness to considering it. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that "changes are happening" in Greenland as a result of climate change, "and the people up there understand it and they're trying to adjust to it."
"We have a very strategic base up there, a military base, which we visited," Manchin said, referring to his visit to Greenland earlier this year as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation. "And I understand the strategy for that in that part of the world and the Arctic opening up the way it is now."
On Tuesday night, Fox News host Pete Hegseth took an optimistic view of events, musing that perhaps Denmark was simply holding out in the hopes of getting Trump to reveal how much he was willing to pay for the island.
"It's one of these big, bold ideas that no one would've thought of, that the modern era mostly bats aside and says would never happen," Hegseth said of buying Greenland on Fox Business Network. "But hey, maybe it's just an initial rebuff. Maybe it's part of their negotiations. 'Hey, we want a better price for Greenland.' "
"You never know," he added. "You never know."
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