The US President Donald Trump canceled his visit to Denmark after the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that Greenland was not for sale.
A couple of days earlier, President Trump expressed his interest in purchasing Greenland – an autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The idea was widely perceived as a joke – until the US president made it rather clear that buying the island was not a laughing matter.
Prime Minister Frederiksen, in turn, dismissed the discussion as “absurd”. "I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously," she stated. “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland,” Frederiksen asserted.
In response, Trump postponed his trip to Denmark. "Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," the President twitted.
While Denmark was rather confused by Donald Trump’s reaction, the worst was yet to come. On Wednesday, the United States President told the reporters that Frederiksen’s statement was “nasty” and “inappropriate”. “She shouldn’t treat the United States that way,” he added.
In addition, the President could not stop bringing his predecessor into the conversation, “We cannot treat the United States of America the way they treated us under President Obama”.
Trump went as far as connecting Obama’s presidency to the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, implying it was a failure of the previous administration’s policy. “Russia outsmarted President Obama,” Trump said. “They took over during his term, not during mine. Crimea, they took over Crimea…. President Putin totally outsmarted President Obama on Crimea and other things…. He made a living outsmarting President Obama.”
Interestingly, the Greenland dispute occurred just as Danish media announced Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Denmark later in September – three weeks after President Trump’s canceled trip. Some political commentators, such as George W. Bush’s former speechwriter David Frum, have expressed a theory that the true reason behind Trump canceling his visit is the fear of contrast with his predecessor. “The contrast in the Danish public reception of the two men was likely to prove embarrassing,” Frum twitted.