Trump: Danish Leader ‘Nasty’ in Rejecting Bid to Buy Greenland

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks to the media Wednesday, in front of the State Department in Copenhagen, after U.S. President Trump tweeted that he will postpone a visit to Denmark because Frederiksen dismissed the notion of selling Greenland to the U.S. as “an absurd discussion.” (Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Upping the ante in his unilateral war of words with Denmark, President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday the Danish prime minister was “nasty” to him in her rejection of his bid to buy Greenland – claiming that’s why he abruptly canceled a scheduled meeting with her.

Responding to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s statement calling Trump’s request to buy Greenland “absurd,” Trump said, “I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something. But all they had to do is say no, we’d rather not do that or we’d rather not talk about it.”

He added, “She’s not talking to me, she’s talking to the United States of America. They can’t say ‘how absurd.”

First reported last week by The Wall Street Journal, Trump confirmed his interest in buying the country Sunday, saying it would be strategically interesting for the United States to acquire Greenland. Trump said the purchase was essentially like a large real estate deal and has reportedly floated the idea to White House officials previously – and on Monday quoted a meme that pictured a coastal town in the Greenland, edited to feature a large, golden skyscraper, and promised “not to do this to Greenland.”

Trump said financially, Greenland – a self-governing country of the Kingdom of Denmark – is a burden to Denmark and said this reason was in part why he had thought about purchasing Greenland.

“A lot of things could be done,” Trump told reporters Sunday. “It’s hurting Denmark because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it.”

Greenland’s Premier Kim Kielsen had also rejected Trump’s bid, saying the sale of the country to the United States was “not something to joke about.”

Frederiksen told ABC News reporters on Monday that she was still interested in meeting with Trump and strengthening the relationship between the two countries, but that Greenland was not for sale.

“By the way, Greenland is not Danish it is Greenlandic,” Frederiksen said. “Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we would naturally love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the U.S.”

But reacting to the cancellation of Trump’s visit, Frederiksen told reporters Wednesday she was annoyed and surprised at the decision but hoped the relationship between Denmark and the United States will remain strong.

Trump in turn recycled an insult he has lobbed at female political figures from Hillary Clinton to Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry.

“Denmark, I looked forward to going but I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was an absurd idea was nasty; I thought it was an inappropriate statement,” Trump told reporters Wednesday outside the White House.

Trump also accused the country on Twitter of not contributing equally to NATO spending for defense, as compared with other counties. While Denmark contributes 1.35% of its GDP to NATO spending, Trump said they should be contributing 2%.

“We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark,” Trump tweeted. “The United States is at a much, much higher level than that. Because of me, these countries have agreed to pay ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS more – but still way short of what they should pay for the incredible military protection provided. Sorry!”

Trump then tweeted a photo of other countries’ contributions to defense spending as a share of GDP, mentioning NATO in the message. “Very unfair to the United States!” he tweeted.

He did not mention Denmark’s sacrifices in the United States’ 18-year war on terror: 43 soldiers killed, the highest loss per capita within the coalition forces.

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