In our current light-speed media ecosystem, the vertiginous rapidity of which is somewhat dictated by our president’s large fingers mashing out wild Twitter dispatches, this is practically old news…but it’s so stunning that I want to state it for the record, in case aliens obliterate us one day but somehow manage to get Internet access and are curious about exactly how stupid things got at the end. Read these tweets from Tuesday:
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) August 20, 2019
....The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019
To answer your first question, yes, Trump really wants to buy Greenland.
Speaking to reporters, the president confirmed reports that first appeared on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that he had asked administration officials to look into the possibility of purchasing the self-governing Danish territory.
“It's just something we've talked about,” he said. “Denmark essentially owns it. We're very good allies with Denmark. We've protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up.”
Gotta love that implicit threat! “We protect you, so you have to sell us your land.”
The Danes responded as normal people would—Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, “Greenland is not for sale.”
“I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” she added, which was sure to infuriate a guy like Trump who hates to be undermined by anyone, but particularly by a woman. And so, he fired off the tweets you see above, “punishing” the Danish prime minister (if you consider Trump canceling a visit a true punishment). He was originally invited by Queen Margrethe II, and her people confirmed that the cancellation was “definitely a surprise.”
Even the conservatives in Denmark are now mad:
As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe. For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for.
Are parts of the US for sale? Alaska?
Please show more respect.
— Rasmus Jarlov (@RasmusJarlov) August 21, 2019
This is frankly unbelievable stuff, even from a bumbling diplomat like Trump. The concept of buying Greenland is one thing, and actually letting the notion go public is another, but canceling a visit because the Danes won’t entertain your offer? That’s actually insane, and petty, and just plain weird on a level we haven’t seen before. Like many things Trump has done, it’s simultaneously kind of funny and very horrifying. And it leaves us with the same conclusion we’ve been arriving at for the last three years: We desperately need a new president.