President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, Aug 21: Two days after he said buying Greenland wasn’t a top priority, President Donald Trump canceled an upcoming trip to Denmark, which owns the mostly frozen island, after its prime minister dismissed the idea.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had called Trump’s musing about buying the Danish territory “an absurd discussion” after the former real estate mogul-turned-president began to talk up the idea.
Trump said Sunday that he was interested in such a deal for strategic purposes, but said a purchase was not a priority at this time. “It’s not No. 1 on the burner,” he told reporters.
Trump even joked about his proposal as it came in for ridicule, tweeting a doctored photo of a glistening Trump skyscraper looming over a small village in the Arctic territory.
“I promise not to do this to Greenland,” he joked Monday.
But on Tuesday, Trump abruptly canceled the visit, also by tweet.
Just a few hours earlier, the U.S. ambassador to Denmark tweeted that it was “ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit!” using an acronym for “President of the United States” along with Trump’s Twitter handle.
Trump wrote: “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.”
He added: “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!”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said later that the visit to Denmark has been canceled.
The White House announced in late July that Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Denmark’s Queen Margrethe and participate in a series of meetings, including with Frederiksen and business leaders.
The trip, set to begin at the end of August, includes a stop in Poland to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.
Trump is expected to go ahead with the Warsaw visit.
Asked about Greenland on Sunday as he prepared to return to Washington after a vacation week at his central New Jersey home, Trump said “strategically ... it would be nice” to own the island.
He also suggested he might not visit Denmark at all, saying he didn’t think the previously announced trip had been “absolutely set in stone yet.”