When it first became clear that President Trump was interested in buying Greenland from Denmark, leaders in the two countries reacted with confusion and, given the absurdity of it all, a surprising amount of diplomacy.
“Greenland is not for sale,” Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said flatly over the weekend. “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.” Greenland’s government used the story as an opportunity to promote itself: “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,” it said in a statement.
Then Tuesday night Trump canceled an upcoming trip to Denmark because Frederiksen wouldn’t consider the sale. That turned the confusion in Denmark into anger.
“Is this some sort of joke?” former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt asked in a tweet. “Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.”
Pernille Skipper, a member of the Danish parliament, tweeted that Trump is “smug and disrespectful.” She added: “Trump lives on another planet.” The MP Michael Aastrup Jensen told the Washington Post that Trump’s behavior, which portrays a lack of “even basic diplomatic skills,” is “an insult from a close friend and ally.”
Another member of parliament, Kristian Jensen, called the cancellation “total chaos” and a “diplomatic crisis.” His colleague Rasmus Jarlov, a conservative, tweeted his missive in English.
Pia Kjærsgaard, the former Speaker of the Danish Parliament called Trump “rude” and said he has a “complete lack of respect.” Søren Espersen, the spokesperson for a right-wing political party in Denmark, said Trump was behaving like “a spoiled child.” And according to Reuters, Danish Social Liberal Party leader Morten Ostergaard said, “The man is unpredictable. Reality surpasses imagination.”