Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday she regretted and was surprised that U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his scheduled visit to Denmark when she rebuffed his overture to buy Greenland, the Arctic country that is part of the Danish kingdom.
“I had been looking forward to the visit, our preparations were well underway,” she told reporters in Copenhagen. “It was an opportunity, I think, to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the U.S., and who remains one of Denmark’s closest allies. I was looking forward to having a dialogue on the many shared interests Denmark has with the U.S.”
But Trump called off the September 2-3 visit late Tuesday, while saying that, “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people.” But he said that with Frederiksen declaring 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.”
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Danish political figures assailed Trump’s trip cancellation, saying his snub of the Danish visit was ill-mannered.
“It’s an insult from a close friend and ally,” Danish parliamentarian Michael Aastrup J ensen said, adding that Trump “lacks even basic diplomatic skills.”
Denmark’s former business minister, Rasmus Jarlov, said on Twitter, “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.”
Left-wing politician Pernille Skipper wrote on Twitter, “Trump lives on another planet. Self-sufficient and disrespectful.”
Trump recently floated the idea of buying Greenland from Denmark but officials in Denmark and Greenland immediately responded that the island was not for sale. Many at first thought Trump’s suggestion was a joke until they realized it was not.
“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” Frederiksen told the newspaper Sermitsiaq during a visit to Greenland.
The Danish prime minister said that while she considers the United States to be her country’s closest strategic ally, “thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over.”
Trump had been invited to Denmark for a state visit, but White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed late Tuesday that the trip was canceled.