Inger Støjberg has been the target of criticism this week after giving a speech at a demonstration on Saturday where she called for politicians to “drain the swamp”.
Stood before a caricature of the prime minister, Støjberg made a deliberate decision to employ the language of former US President Donald Trump, saying: “We have to drain the swamp of Mette Frederiksen’s power and arrogance.”
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the chair of Venstre, has since made moves to distance himself from Støjberg’s rhetoric, claiming not to have heard the speech.
“I have heard that phrase from the – fortunately – now former US President. I can assure you that whatever he meant by that phrase does not represent the views of Venstre,” he told TV2.
Lighting outrage across party lines
Other members of the cabinet were less forgiving of Støjberg’s speech.
Also speaking to TV2, the justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, called the comments “deeply distasteful” and “damaging”.
“Venstre is attempting to create a schism in Denmark to try and win political ground. But we must not have a situation like in the USA, where the population lose all trust in the authorities,” he added.
The former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen expressed his surprise at the use of the phrase on Twitter.
“’To drain the swamp’ has, until now, never been a part of normal Danish speech …” he said.
Meanwhile, a former Venstre minister, Søren Pind, had a much more muted response on his Twitter page: “’Drain the Swamp …’ what happened to my good old party?”