It began as a joke, those familiar with the matter say — in the spring of 2018, President Donald Trump quipped that he kind of, sort of wanted to buy Greenland in order to get its resources.
Undoubtedly, some laughed at the idea. But very few are laughing now.
Trump has since continued pushing the idea, aides who have been privy to the matter say, per a report from the New York Times. Most of his aides have voiced skepticism over whether it would be possible to buy Greenland, which is technically a part of the kingdom of Denmark but self-rules on domestic matters.
To the president’s face, however, they have told him they would look into the idea.
Politicians in Greenland and Denmark, however, say it’s a no-go.
“We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,” Ane Lone Bagger, the nation’s foreign minister, said, per reporting from The Guardian.
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, a member of the Folketing, the Danish parliament, representing Greenland’s voice there, voiced loud opposition to the idea as well. “It is Greenland’s geostrategic location that Trump is interested in. Not the country itself, or Greenlanders,” she opined. “So no – it’s not flattering.”
Denmark: Greenland is not for sale.
Said one Danish politician: “The idea that Denmark should sell 50,000 citizens to the US is completely insane.”https://t.co/KB0ncQPKhK
— David Beard (@dabeard) August 16, 2019
Lars Løkke Rasmussen, a former prime minister of Denmark and a current center-right leader within the Folketing, also remarked about the idea.
“It must be an April Fools’ Day joke…but totally out of season,” he said.
Others went even further in their critiques of the idea. “If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” Soren Espersen, a foreign policy spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party, said, according to Newsweek.
Some aides to Trump quipped that it could be a move akin to the purchase of Alaska, which occurred in the mid-19th century.
That comparison, however, lacks one critical detail: it was Russia, which was desperate to rid itself of the territory, that initiated negotiations to sell off Alaska in that instance, and not the United States that went around asking if it could buy the land, according to the State Department. Denmark has no interests, nor has explicitly stated a desire, to sell off Greenland to any other nation, let alone the United States.