It’s the biggest story in the world right now, primarily because it has a ‘mouse that roared’ ring to it and because it’s been easy to follow thanks to its main participants obliging the media with a monosyllabic tit-for-tat.
“Sell!” … “Absurd” … “Cancelled” … “Surprised!” … “Nasty”.
But now Danish PM Mette Frederiksen has had enough, confirming yesterday she won’t be engaging in a “war of words” with US President Donald Trump over his cancelled state visit after she ruled out the possibility of Denmark selling Greenland to the US.
Absurd, disgusting, inappropriate, nasty
Trump, who claims the Greenland offer were made due to “strategic reasons”, has confessed that it was Frederiksen’s description of his offer as “absurd” that triggered his decision to cancel the trip, which was planned from September 2-3. He subsequently called her “nasty” – the same word he used to describe Meghan, the wife of Prince Harry of Britain – and her response “disgusting”.
“I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd – that it was an absurd idea was nasty,” he said.
“I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested. She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way – at least under me.”
Trump brings up NATO spending; Frederiksen de-escalates
Trump then used Twitter to highlight how Denmark continues to pay less than 2 percent of its GDP to NATO.
“They are a wealthy country and should be at 2 percent. We protect Europe, and still only 8 of 28 countries deliver 2 percent. The United States is at a much, much higher level than that.”
Frederiksen, meanwhile, took a conciliatory tone. “We want to continue the good dialogue we have on the Danish side and signal to the world that we are able to handle the challenges that do not disappear even if a state visit is cancelled,” she said.
“We have a lot of common interests that we should have discussed. The most important thing is our alliance and close co-operation with the United States. It should not be allowed to stop here.”
Politicians and diplomats weigh in
Politicians on both sides of the pond have been falling over each other to express an opinion on the subject, and Frederiksen’s conciliatory tone was echoed by her foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, who has reported a positive exchange with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo.
He revealed that Pompeo “expressed appreciation for Denmark’s co-operation” as a US ally in a telephone call yesterday. Kofod said he welcomed the “frank, friendly and constructive talk”.
For once, Dansk Folkeparti and Enhedslisten are on common ground. While DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl labelled the cancellation a “farce”, and his predecessor Pia Kjaersgaard condemned Trump’s “rude behaviour to the Danish people and the queen, who invited him”, Enhedslisten leader Pernille Skipper observed that “Trump lives on another planet.”
The US ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, couldn’t disagree more, though, claiming that “as allies, we should be able to discuss everything”.
“Our aim and hope is that we are able to openly discuss big and small issues without anything being taken off the table in advance or crossing a boundary,” she said.
The US public have their say
Meanwhile, the Copenhagen Post hasn’t seen this much overseas correspondence since the Cartoon Crisis of 2005-06. Here are just a sample of the messages we have received over the last couple of days from US citizens.
“As an American citizen, I applaud Danish Prime Minister Frederiksen for her comments regarding Mr Trump’s desire to buy Greenland. You must understand that Mr Trump is an egomaniac whose family money bought him a deferment from military service during the Vietnam war, bought his way through a college education and bought him what he considers ‘status’ in society. He is a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum when he does not get his way. That is the way his parents raised him. The insult claimed by Mr Trump is not in Prime Minister Frederiksen’s response to him. It is in Mr Trump’s assumption that everything in this world is for sale. Know that the great majority of US citizens stands with you in denying Mr Trump’s desire to feed his ego.”
“I write to apologise to the people of Denmark for the embarrassing behavior of the president of the United States in his absurd effort to purchase Greenland. The depths of our shame and embarrassment over this insulting and ignorant presidential folly are profound. His demeaning behaviour does not represent the views of the people of the United States who recognise the importance of our diplomatic and historic relationship with your country.”
Dr Mark Lusk
El Paso, Texas
“Today the president of the United States, Donald Trump, cancelled his trip to Denmark after the Greenland flap. Welcome to ‘Trump’s World’ where he has no problem to humiliate an ally and NATO member over his fantasies. With Trump as a president, the United States cannot be trusted. Denmark is opposed to Russian Nord Stream-2, seeing the Russian gas pipeline as a risk because it may allow Russia to use gas supplies as a diplomatic weapon. It is a concern, but it seems to me it is better for Denmark to react to Trump’s insults by supporting Nord Stream-2 than to become Trump’s puppet. More than two-thirds of the pipeline is already completed and only Denmark stands in its way. Denmark should allow Nord Stream-2 instead of listening to the United States.”
“I wish to apologise for the behaviour of Mr. Trump, an embarrassment to the citizens of the US and the entire world. The week I spent in Denmark was a most rewarding trip; you have an outstanding cultural heritage, a rich history, and your citizens are gracious, hospitable, and friendly.”
Raouf J Halaby
“Hi to everyone at the Post. Just writing to say sorry for our president and please be patient with us while we navigate this dark time in American politics. Mr Trump is just an idiot with out any sense of honesty or morality and that is clear to most of us here as well as to the rest of the world. As our next election approaches in 2020, please feel free to let us know how dysfunctional we have become. We need to hear it!”
“Kudos to Denmark for having a leader willing to react boldly and rationally to the idiocy of the US president. Do understand that a significant majority of Americans, like me, do not support Trump and are quite embarrassed by him several times a day.”
“President Trump is just thinking of the future. In 100 years, when all the glaciers are melted and Greenland has the climate of the northeastern US, Greenland will be a perfect summer vacation destination to get out of the heat of Europe and North America. Plus the US pays exorbitant lease fees to Greenland for a few remote military bases. As Trump knows, ‘why lease when you can buy’ a piece of land.”
“I live in the US. Most of us are embarrassed of who is in the WH. For him to assume that you would let him buy Greenland is just a reflection of who he is. A bully, a liar, a cheater, a thief, a conman, a scammer and a whiny child. There are probably more words to describe him, but that is a start. He is not well-liked or respected. It’s pretty bad when the city and state that he lived in his whole life did not vote for him. Tell him to f-off.”
“Please Denmark, do not re-invite him. And charge him for the wasted money your country has spent on the preparation of this state visit.”
“Jeez … look at the way the way the PM talked about Trump – any surprise he isn’t going? Talk about me that way in public and see if I show up at your house for dinner.”
“For all the ignorant Americans posting here, Denmark is a country that actually has several of its islands for sale, so the offer is not that ridiculous. On top of that the only reason Greenland as never been forcibly taken by another country is because the US protects little defenceless Denmark. So the US is in a way already spending money on Greenland. Lastly, Greenland costs Denmark a huge amount of taxpayer money, and in return they get nothing since they have their own parliament and autonomy, and dislike Denmark with a passion – to the point they were ready to sell off mining rights to the Chinese instead of the country that pours ‘support’ billions into it.”
“I can’t see the cost being that large – the trip was two weeks away, but it is vastly cheaper for him not to arrive than to arrive. He saved Denmark money by not coming. I think a more appropriate article would have been abouit the issues Denmark needs the US’s help on, and now those issues, such as the Arctic, will go unresolved.”
Well, our President Trump, in a fit of spite over the rejection of his Greenland hotel/casino proposal, has cancelled plans to visit Denmark. Most Americans consider him to be mentally deranged. Mental health professionals consider him to have many characteristics of a narcissistic sociopath. So, please consider this cancellation a blessing in disguise. Who knows what he may have considered himself insulted by if he did visit your wonderful country. Americans hope to have a new president in a year or so. I hope our new president will then visit your country soon afterwards.
“You Danes were ‘Big Time’ there for a moment, but you blew it.”
All up for grabs: Alaska, Texas, Ohio, the US Virgin Islands
And finally, there have been a couple of curveball suggestions as well!
“The other way round: why Denmark shouldn’t buy Alaska? Last week many ecologists, like me, felt terrorised after reading in the media that Trump’s latest idea is buying Greenland from the Danish. I am sure that if this idea flourishes, in a short period of time the giant ice-covered island will be totally transformed into a tourist resort, military base, a mineral ore mine, gas or oil producing station and plagued with infrastructure such as oil pipes, airports and harbours, destroying this pristine Arctic region forever. It would be so much better if this vast territory continued to be governed by an ecologically conscientious and respectful authority, as is the Danish state. Another, and much better, option would be to make the trade in the opposite sense: Denmark should buy Alaska from the United States in order to preserve another endangered pristine Arctic territory, keeping at bay selfishness, short-terminism and destruction, and keeping safe its most valued treasures: the wildlife and spectacular beauty for the coming generations.”
“Please let me suggest you exchange Greenland for Texas. However, we would want you to haul Texas away promptly. We don’t want Texas sitting there indefinitely as you ponder the deal you have made and perhaps try to back out of it. Maybe we could throw in Ohio to sweeten the deal?”
“Let’s buy back the Danish West Indies. With healthy national finances and taken into consideration that back in 1917 the US bought the islands from Denmark for only $25 million, we have the money to do it! Adjusted for inflation $25 million would be approximately $541,450,431 or a little more than 3,622,140,948 kroner in today’s money. Acknowledging that the US has indeed invested a substantial amount in the islands during the last 100 years, I suggest a reasonable offer on our part to be about 5,000,000,000 kroner give or take, and since there is no tradition for asking the inhabitants of the islands, regardless of citizenship, it should be possible to reach an agreement without too many inconvenient local interruptions.”
Frederiksberg Municipality councillor David Munis Zepernick