“Greenland! This land is your land, this land is our land,” the shirt reads on the front. On its back, caricatures of the two countries link up for a high-five. In a Facebook advertisement, the Nevada GOP urged followers to “show your support for making Greenland the 51st state.”
Trump’s desire to purchase Greenland, reported last week by the Wall Street Journal, prompted an immediate adverse reaction from European lawmakers, who compared the effort to colonialism. The self-governing island has fewer than 60,000 residents and is part of the kingdom of Denmark.
The United States has homed in on the Arctic because of Chinese and Russian expansion — and Trump said Sunday that owning Greenland “would be nice” from a strategic perspective. But Greenland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has said bluntly that the country is “open for business, not for sale.”
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the notion “absurd” over the weekend, and citing her comments, Trump said Tuesday that he was postponing a visit to Denmark.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
He appeared to change his tune Wednesday, however, calling Frederiksen’s statement “nasty.”
“It was not a nice way of doing it,” he said. “She could have just said, ‘No, we’d rather not do it.’ ” He added: “They can’t say, ‘How absurd.’ ”
Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) came to the president’s defense Wednesday and suggested that he had proposed the idea in a meeting with the Danish ambassador. His communications director told The Washington Post that Cotton mentioned the purchase in a conversation with Trump more than a year ago.
“It’s obviously the right decision for the United States, and anyone who can’t see that is blinded by Trump derangement,” Cotton said during a luncheon in Little Rock, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.