President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he was postponing a scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark after the Scandinavian leader made it clear she would not discuss selling Greenland to the United States.
“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 tweeted Tuesday night. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
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Trump had been invited by Queen Margrethe II to visit Denmark as part of a larger tour of Europe, but a White House spokesperson told POLITICO on Tuesday night that Trump does not plan to visit the country as scheduled.
Trump confirmed over the weekend reports that he was interested in buying Greenland, but said it was not a priority for the administration. The Wall Street Journal initially reported Trump’s interest in the move on Friday, leading to guffaws in Washington and anger in Denmark and Greenland.
Frederiksen said that it was an “absurd discussion,” and that Greenland Premier “Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That’s where the conversation ends.”
Greenland’s Foreign Ministry tweeted shortly after Trump’s interest became public on Friday: “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. We’re open for business, not for sale.”
The president joked about the move on Twitter, promising not to construct a Trumpian tower in Greenland, and tried over the weekend to brush off any concerns that it had caused a riff with Denmark. He told reporters on Sunday that the visit to Denmark was not to discuss the purchase of Greenland.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday cited Greenland’s location and natural resources as possibly piquing the interest of the president — who he said “knows a thing or two about buying real estate.”
“Denmark owns Greenland, Denmark is an ally, Greenland is a strategic place, up there. And they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” Kudlow said.
Greenland is a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark with a high degree of autonomy from Copenhagen. Frederiksen told the Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq that “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland.”
Anita Kumar contributed to this report.