Trump, Spurned, Spurns Back! (Greenland)

The running joke over the last half-week has been Greenland: Donald Trump wants to buy it for the US! Could this be serious? Well, it was the Wall Street Journal that initially broke the story. For a while afterwards there was no official reaction from either the White House or from Greenland/Denmark. Then on Sunday (yesterday) evening Trump confirmed his interest in such a purchase to reporters (FT paywall).

Ah … but this guy is no longer the Prime Minister!

Eventually, top Danish and Greenlandic officials started to deal with this idea of an American purchase, and not as a joke. Denmark’s relatively new prime minister (from last 27 June), Mette Frederiksen, actually used this past weekend to travel there for the very first time. (Coincidence, or what?) There, she said “Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I really hope that it’s not something that is seriously meant.” And Kim Kielsen (he’s male), Greenland’s Premier, echoed “Of course, Greenland is not for sale.”

Still, all that was probably obvious, no matter Trump’s intentions. Why hasn’t this story died already? Because Trump is scheduled to visit Denmark in the near future!

You may recall that the American president is due in Europe shortly anyway, for the G7 summit that will happen in Biarritz, France starting next Saturday (24 AUG). It only makes sense, having made the trans-Atlantic slog, to add other engagements once you are over there. First Trump and Melania will visit Poland – they love Americans there and are dying for some permanent US military bases on their territory, which they are certainly willing to help pay for. They’re even willing to call the biggest & baddest among these future bases “Camp Trump.” But then the plan was to go on to visit Denmark on 2-3 September, on a full state visit, no less.

That was the plan; but that headline from Politiken above reads “Trump sows doubt about his visit to Denmark: I might come.” For yesterday evening, even as he was confirming his ongoing desire for Greenland to reporters, he also said, “I’m thinking of going over there. I’m not entirely sure I’ll head there. Maybe I’ll do it. We’ll go to Poland, and then maybe we’ll go to Denmark.” (Note that the above quotes I back-translated from the Politiken article.)

He’s Donald M-F Trump!!

Why is Trump behaving this way now? Because: Greenland! And more fundamentally: because, well, he’s Donald Trump!

Now, you can be sure this visit has already been agreed to, by both governments, and therefore intensively planned for! Prime Minister Frederiksen told Danmarks Radio “We’re proceeding on the basis that there will come a visit of the American president, and we are in full swing with the preparations. I am really looking forward to the visit. The USA is our most important security-political ally.” Now, she can’t mean that “looking forward” part: Mette Frederiksen is but 41 years old, not particularly attractive (sorry!) and imbued with that strong streak of Scandinavian feminism, and she has clawed her way to the peak of Danish politics. You could hardly think of anyone less likely to get on well personally with Donald Trump (well, anyone who is white, at least). Go ahead, get yourself to Ladbroke’s today to place your bet on some embarrassing incident occurring between the two of them: it’s virtually guaranteed.

But the key thing is that this is a state visit – it is no less than Queen Margrethe II herself who has invited Trump and Melania to visit! It’s meeting the Queen, without any doubt, and not meeting Mette Frederiksen, that is the main goal for his visit, something reinforced by the sort of royal pomp-heavy ceremonies that the White House requested in the lead-up to the visit. Trump had a great time with all that stuff when visiting Queen Elizabeth II last June, it seems; now he wants to try – nay, he knows he deserves – the Danish version.

But there’s been a complication and that might not happen – Trump can’t be quite sure, you see. In reaction, the foreign affairs spokesman of the far-right Dansk Folkeparti (they’re the ones who want to wall off immigrants; i.e. they’re Trump’s kind of people, although not in power) called a Trump no-show for what it would be: “a great insult to the Queen.” People there are so alarmed at the prospect that they scrambled to find a good historian to tell them if it had happened before!

No, the historian told them: “only sickness, revolution or a political crisis” has in the past led to the cancellation of a state-visit. No matter: If Trump remains miffed that he cannot have Greenland – and that during this visit, if he brings up the subject, they will politely repeat this to him – then he seemingly has no compunction about delivering a massive affront to Denmark.

To Denmark! A loyal NATO ally! The kind of place from which Trump actually doesn’t mind immigration! From which he quite likely could choose a new wife when he finds it is time to trade in the current model! Americans: this is your President!

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